Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative wraps up work on the Jug Handle Bridge

By on October 10, 2022

By Joy Crist | Island Free Press

Installation of the transmission cables on the Jug Handle Bridge in August. (Photo by CHEC)

While the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) recently began the final phase of the Jug Handle Bridge project – removing the pavement from a two-mile former section of N.C. Highway 12 – the Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative (CHEC) also celebrated a corresponding milestone this week.

During the construction of the new bridge, CHEC was also hard at work to build a new conduit system located under the 2.4-mile-long structure, in order to move power from the overhead lines just north of Rodanthe.

As of this week, CHEC reports that all its work on the bridge is done, and testing has begun on the new conduit system to ensure that everything is running smoothly. “Starting on Tuesday or Wednesday, there will be no more closures on the bridge by CHEC,” said Laura Ertle, ‎Director of Public Relations and Marketing for CHEC. “Our lane closures will be wrapping up in the next couple of days.”

CHEC contractors work on the bridge in January 2022 from a hydra platform, a specialty under-bridge access vehicle that uses a multi-jointed arm with a basket platform attached at the end. (Photo by CHEC)

“The cable system is completely installed under the bridge, all the splicing has been complete, and the scaffolding has been removed from the bridge’s four splice boxes,” she added. “We will be testing the cables this week, and will be ready to put the [power] load on it soon.”

The power delivered to Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands is solely provided by the transmission lines that run parallel to N.C. Highway 12, and before the Jug Handle Bridge opened in July of 2022, that route included the stretch between Rodanthe and Pea Island that the new bridge now bypasses.

Because of this roadway shift, CHEC began work in December of 2021 to move the overhead transmission lines to a secure locale under the new bridge, with help from contractor New River Electrical, (and its subcontractor Aptus), to install the hanger, conduit, and cables under the structure.

Originally, the new under-bridge conduit system was expected to be complete and operational by February of 2023, but the work to move the power is finishing months ahead of schedule.

“One of the things that changed from when we first started this project is that NCDOT had asked us to suspend work in the summer months, so as not to interfere with summer traffic,” said Ertle. “Originally, we planned to work as much as possible until Memorial Day, and then return to work again on Labor Day.”

The problem with this original plan was that once the bridge was complete and open, and work to remove the old highway began, accessing the overhead lines in the bypassed stretch of the S-Curves would become difficult, especially during the height of hurricane season.

“We expressed some concern about road removal and accessing those [overhead] lines in the event of a hurricane or storm, so they graciously reworked the plan, and two things happened,” said Ertle. “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed to delay the road removal for several months, and the NCDOT agreed to allow us to work in the summer months. That expedited the project a lot.”

The switch to the new power lines won’t officially occur until early November or early December. Minor power outages will likely be required, so an early November or December timeframe ensures that any outages won’t correspond with the busy Thanksgiving holiday.

“When we do the cutover, it will require some planned outages, but once we get the go-ahead, we’ll communicate with our [CHEC] membership so they’ll know what’s happening and what to plan for,” said Ertle. “It will be similar to the process [for the new lines under] the Basnight Bridge.”

Jug Handle Bridge (Photo by Kerry Hooper Jr.)

In the meantime, the public can look forward to fewer lane closures on the Jug Handle Bridge, now that CHEC’s work is complete, as well as safer and more reliable power in the years and hopefully decades to come.

“This is definitely a significant investment in the reliability of service for Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands,” said Ertle. “This move takes away all risk of ocean overwash, salt contamination, and all of the problems that can happen in that vulnerable section of Hatteras Island.”

“It’s definitely going to be an enhancement, and this was a really big project to complete. Any project that involves bridges over water and electricity can be complicated, but we’re happy to see the finish line.”


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BIDDER PRE-QUALIFICATION REQUEST:

Barnhill Building Group has been selected as the Construction Manager @ Risk by the College of the Albemarle and is seeking to pre-qualify construction trade contractors to submit bids for the furnishing labor, materials, equipment, and tools for the new College of The Albemarle – Allied Health Sciences Simulation Lab (COA Health Sciences) located in Elizabeth City, NC. Please note: Only subcontractors who have been prequalified by Barnhill will be able to submit a Bid.

The project consists of the new construction of a 38,000-sf, 2-story expansion to the existing Owens Health Sciences Center and will house classrooms, labs, and a simulation lab. The site is just over just over 4.5 acres and is located on an active campus. This new construction will be a steel structure with a brick and metal panel veneer, curtainwall, and storefront glazing with a PVC roof membrane.

Principal trade and specialty contractors are solicited for the following Bid Packages:

BP0100: General Trades

BP0105: Final Cleaning

BP0390: Turnkey Concrete

BP0400: Turnkey Masonry

BP0500: Structural Steel & Misc. Steel

BP0740: Roofing

BP0750: Metal Panels

BP0790: Caulking / Caulking

BP0800: Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware

BP0840: Glass & Glazing

BP0925: Drywall

BP0960: Resilient Flooring

BP0980: Acoustical Ceilings

BP0990: Painting & Wallcovering

BP1005: Toilet Specialties / Accessories / Division 10

BP1010: Signage

BP1098: Demountable Partitions

BP1230: Finish Carpentry and Casework

BP1250: Window Treatment

BP1400: Elevators

BP2100: Fire Protection

BP2200: Plumbing

BP2300: HVAC

BP2600: Turnkey Electrical

BP3100: Turnkey Sitework

BP3290: Landscaping

Packages may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager. Historically underutilized business firms are encouraged to complete participation submittals.

HUB/MWBE OUTREACH MEETING: Barnhill Building Group will be conducting a HUB/MWBE Informational Session. You are encouraged to attend the following session to learn more about project participation opportunities available to you. These seminars will help to: Learn about project and scope; Inform and train Minority/HUB contractors in preparation for bidding this project; Assist in registration on the State of North Carolina Vendor link; Stimulate opportunities for Networking with other firms. Location and time TBD. Please visit our planroom at https://app.buildingconnected.com/public/54da832ce3edb5050017438b for more information.

Interested contractors should submit their completed prequalification submittals, by July 22, 2024, to Meredith Terrell at mterrell@barnhillcontracting.com or hardcopies can be mailed to Barnhill Contracting Company PO Box 31765 Raleigh, NC 27622 (4325 Pleasant Valley Road, NC 27612).


 



See what people are saying:

  • Bill

    One more bridge to bypass the Canal Zone & FWS VC.

    Tuesday, Oct 11 @ 12:29 pm