The reconstruction of the East Campus bridge—announced in May—has been delayed due to weather conditions.
The renovations were initiated to revamp the West Main Street bridge to meet changes in infrastructure standards since the bridge’s initial construction in 1950. Although the project was expected to be complete within 130 days, it has now been delayed due to weather conditions.
“At the beginning of the project, and as recently as the last month, we received a lot of rain, at some points receiving 2 inches in an hour, making it too wet to work,” said Jamal Atkins, North Carolina Department of Transportation assistant resident engineer.
Atkins said the project should be completed by the end of October, though that is not definitive. He added that the delays will not cost the city of Durham any additional money. In the case the project is not finished in time and a fine is charged, the contractors will be billed, not the city of Durham.
"[We are] doing everything we can [by] working with the contractors, Duke and the city to make things move as quickly as possible," he said.
According to the NCDOT, the contract was signed at $1.9 million in order to make improvements to the bridge, including a higher tunnel clearance over Campus Drive. The bulk of traffic closures are on Main Street, beginning at Buchanan Boulevard. The department has worked to construct several detours and to limit traffic closures to between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Despite these efforts, students and employees are anxiously awaiting for the project to be completed.
“Of course it’s inconvenient,” said Debra Westenskow, a Duke bus driver.
Westenskow added that the road closures at night are particularly problematic because the construction lights can be blinding and make navigation difficult. She also said that she noticed visitors to the area have had difficulty finding alternative routes when unable to cross Main Street.
Students have also expressed disappointment over the incompletion of the construction project.
“The construction [on the bridge] just contributes to the already overwhelming amount of construction on campus,” said sophomore Ishani Purohit.
Junior Matt Baron experienced the frustration of adjusting to the road construction while working in Durham over the summer.
“The Main Street road closing makes it difficult to connect with the Durham community,” he said.
Still, Atkins said that the detours are efficient and that he has not received any complaints.
"The detours work perfectly," he said.