WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — City officials closed the bridge on Reynolds Park Road over Salem Creek on Friday after a state inspector determined that the bridge’s beams were structurally unsound and presented a hazard.
City officials said the emergency closing was based on the advice of the N.C. Department of Transportation.
The bridge, which is near Reynolds Park Golf Course, will be closed until it can be repaired or replaced
About 9,800 vehicles travel that section of Reynolds Park Road each day.
A timetable for the work may be known sometime next week, said Greg Turner, an assistant city manager. A replacement bridge is being designed, he said.
Problems with the bridge had been noted over the years.
The city imposed a 5-ton weight limit on the bridge two years ago and traffic was shifted to the center of the span after a previous inspection found beams on the edge of the bridge were deteriorating.
Last year, an inspector determined that the bridge had structural problems in the connection between horizontal and vertical bridge elements. At that time, the city didn’t consider the bridge to be unsafe.
“The city will work with a consultant to determine if we can make temporary repairs that would enable us to reopen the existing bridge until a new bridge can be built,” Turner said.
Ryan Newcomb, the city’s assistant director of transportation, said that bridge’s closing will likely cause traffic delays.
“It will be inconvenient, no doubt,” Newcomb said.
That’s particularly true tonight, when thousands of people make their way to the area to attend the races at Bowman Gray Stadium.
Race-goers will need to find alternate routes, said Nancy Young, a spokeswoman for Winston-Salem State University.
Detours will be marked.
The closing presents a challenge for the business and residents along Reynolds Park Road.
City crews put up barriers at each end of the bridge about 5 p.m. and a police officer stood at Reynolds Park Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive for about an hour, directing traffic and talking to rush-hour commuters.
Pappi Conrad is the unit director The Salvation Army Carlson Boys and Girls Club on Reynolds Park Road. Conrad said she understood the city’s need to close the bridge.
The closing, she said, will likely affect many of the parents who bring their children to the center. About 140 children take part in programs at there.
“We need time to get information to our parents about a route that is convenient to them,” Conrad said.
Ryan Graham is one of those parents. She was trying to get to the center Friday to pick up her daughter.
She said she was upset about the bridge’s closing.
“I’m mad,” Graham said. “This is my way home. Now I am going to have to go completely out of my way to get home.”
Yolonda Crim, an employee at Winston-Salem State University, said that the bridge’s closure will add time to her commute to work. She lives in a neighborhood off Reynolds Park Road, south of the bridge.
“Now, I will have to find a different route,” Crim said.