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What are the duties of the bridge operator other than opening and closing the bridge over the Cape Fear River?

Ken Little

Federal regulations require that the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge be staffed around the clock, says Amanda Glynn, division bridge program manager for the N.C. Department of Transportation.

“Operators keep a constant watch over the waterway and roadway conditions. They report any accidents or incidents to appropriate responders,” Glynn says.

Wilmington police are called if there is a vehicle crash on the bridge, and the Coast Guard or 911 might be called if the bridge operator spots something unusual in the Cape Fear River below, she says.

“Federal regulations require that they keep a constant watch on the waterway and roadway at all times,” Glynn says. “They also monitor the operating conditions of the bridge and report all issues to the maintenance crews.”

The Cape Fear Memorial Bridge was opened in 1969. A $6.6 million renovation of the vertical lift bridge will begin about mid-March, and include cleaning and painting the structural steel in the center area where the lift section is. That and other bridge preservation work will result in closing of the bridge between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. from April 13 to June 11, Glynn says.

Drivers at night will be obliged to use the nearby Isabel S. Holmes Bridge until the work is complete. The bridge renovation work will be finished by mid-September, Glynn says.

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