Some of the lights on the newly opened R. Kelly Bryant, Jr. Pedestrian Bridge over NC-147 are off and will remain off for an indefinite period of time. This is due to an unknown malfunction in the lighting system. The contractor is currently working on solving the problem, and the lights will be turned back on as soon as these repairs are completed.
The bridge construction is now complete and a special dedication ceremony was held on September 16, 2010. Ceremony attendees received vouchers for free food and entertainment after the ceremony at the T.A. Grady Recreation Center. Speakers at the ceremony included Mayor William V. "Bill" Bell, North Carolina Board of Transportation Member Chuck Watts, City Councilman J. Michael Woodard, and R. Kelly Bryant, Jr.
On February 16, 2009, the City Council awarded Contract ST-230 to S.T. Wooten Corporation with a bid of $1,906,368. The bids were opened on Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 11 a.m. for Contract ST-230, Project: Durham Downtown Gateway Bridge over NC-147 in the Public Works Conference Room, Third Floor, 101 City Hall Plaza, Durham, North Carolina. Construction began in May 2009.
On December 23, 2003, a municipal agreement was executed between the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) and the City of Durham for the removal and replacement of the existing pedestrian bridge crossing over the Durham Freeway (NC 147) at Alston Avenue. The original agreement was for two (2) years and expired on December 23, 2005. On August 25, 2005, it was requested that the agreement be modified to allow sufficient time to complete the design and construction of the project. The NCDOT noted that a two-year extension would be granted to complete the design and public review process and to remove and replace the existing pedestrian bridge. Supplemental Agreement No. 1 was approved by the City Council on January 17, 2006. The completion date of the original agreement was revised to December 23, 2007.
The municipal agreement required that the City of Durham negotiate a contract(s) for the design and construction to remove and replace the existing NCDOT pedestrian bridge over the Durham Freeway. Stewart Engineering, Incorporated, was selected through the City’s request for proposal process. The NCDOT will reimburse the City of Durham for all costs associated with this work, subject to the constraints and conditions as outlined in the agreement, up to a maximum amount of $2 million. The design for the pedestrian bridge crossing over the Durham Freeway (NC 147) at Alston Avenue has been completed and construction is pending. Because of insufficient funding, the project has not been bid for construction. The City Council approved a second time extension in January 2008, and the revised completion date is within seven (7) years of execution of the original agreement or December 2010.
The original pedestrian bridge was constructed by NCDOT as part of the Durham Freeway project to provide a link between neighborhoods that were separated by the freeway. The enclosed design of the original bridge provided poor visibility for users and public safety officers leading to its closure in 1995. The bridge has also deteriorated due to its age. The NCDOT is replacing the bridge with funds remaining from the original NC 147 Durham Freeway project. The new bridge will link residential and commercial areas divided by the freeway and also link those areas to the future Alston Avenue TTA rail station and possibly with a future trail system. The City of Durham is managing the project to ensure that citizen input is obtained in the selection of the pedestrian bridge design and to help address some of the concerns that led to the original closure of the bridge. The NDCOT funding can only be used to construct the pedestrian bridge. NCDOT will not entertain use of the funds to only demolish the existing bridge.
An additional $800,000.00 was approved in May 2008 from the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization in STP Direct Attributable funds. This amount represents 80 percent of the $1 million needed to complete this project. The City will be responsible for the 20 percent match or $200,000.00 which was approved in the City’s 08-09 budget.
This project has been on hold for over a year due to insufficient funding. Due to funding shortfalls, delays, and increased costs, the cost of the bridge construction has increased and the revised cost estimate of the bridge construction is $2.2 million.
For information on this project, contact Byron Brady, CE IV, (919)560-4326, ext. 30296 or e-mail Byron.Brady@durhamnc.gov.