UPDATE: As of May 2012, the bridge painting project is finally complete.
All 103 floors of the Empire State Building were completed faster than the time it has taken contractors to spruce up the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge.
The N.C. Department of Transportation contractor is taking the week of Thanksgiving 2011 off, but nightly bridge closures should resume next week as bridge painting continues.
“They’re not through yet,” said Wayne Currie, the resident engineer in the N.C. DOT’s Wilmington office.
In October 2011, Currie said he hoped the contractor, VHP Enterprises, would be finished by Thanksgiving 2011. This time, he said it probably won’t be done before Christmas 2011, as cold weather could delay the painting.
“It will continue as long as weather allows,” Currie said. “If they don’t get finished, they’d just have to come back in the spring (of 2012) when it’s warm.”
The painting has temperature and humidity requirements, Currie said. Because of the heavy traffic on the bridge, the contractor has to move in at night.
“Nighttime is the only time they can really paint,” Currie said.
As of September 2011, the contractor was one year late. The work started April 25, 2010. The original contract called for the project to be completed by Sept. 30, 2010. After the project ran over, officials said it would be completed in the spring of 2011, then later said it would be completed sometime in the fall of 2011.
The DOT agreed to pay $6.6 million for the painting and other bridge improvements. The contractors could be fined for being late, but Currie said the exact numbers would not be assessed until the project is completed.
The project has lasted 18 months so far, about five more than the Empire State Building took – though, in fairness, that was a blitz effort with thousands of workers.
Date posted: October 4, 2011
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