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Blue Ridge Parkway bridge nears completion

The gap is getting close to closing on the new Blue Ridge Parkway bridge over Interstate 26. NCDOT photo The gap is getting close to closing on the new Blue Ridge Parkway bridge over Interstate 26. NCDOT photo

The new Blue Ridge Parkway bridge over Interstate 26 in Asheville is now just 3 feet from connecting, but several operations and several weeks remain before the two sides will meet.

The bridge deck has been built one side at a time by lifting pre-cast concrete sections and placing them in position, alternating from one side of the pier to the other. The final section, as designed in the pre-construction plans, will be poured by hand following other necessary operations.

The next major step, scheduled for late February, involves pouring concrete to close the gap near the western abutment. After that concrete cures, crews will increase tension in the cables that run through segments of the bridge. The final closure pour connecting the two sides is currently scheduled for a night in the next four to six weeks. The exact date will be determined based on the time needed for concrete to cure and time needed to increase tension in the cables.

Remaining operations revolve around building short sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway leading up to the bridge on both sides. Other tasks include placing a 2-inch overlay on the deck, building a 5-foot sidewalk, and adding stone masonry in specific locations. 

The opening date is to be determined, though Resident Engineer Luke Middleton said he hopes leaf peepers will be able to drive over the new bridge this fall.

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