Winston-Salem city officials reopen bridge

the Reynolds Park Road bridge over Salem Creek

The Reynolds Park Road bridge over Salem Creek

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — City officials reopened the Reynolds Park Road bridge over Salem Creek on Friday, a week after the emergency closure of the span because a state inspector had deemed it unsafe, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

City officials said Friday that the same inspector with the N.C. Department of Transportation determined the bridge could be reopened to traffic with a weight limit of 5 tons, the current limit for the bridge.

Detour signs will remain in place for vehicles over that weight limit.

“He (the inspector) went back and re-analyzed the bridge,” Assistant City Manager Greg Turner said. “He told us that we could reopen it as long it was restricted to the 5-ton weight limit, and it was inspected at least every six months.”

However, a city crew will inspect the bridge every month, he said.

The city has not done any repair work on the bridge, Turner said.

City official still plans to hire a consulting engineer to help with the bridge project, Turner said. That engineer will be part of the inspections process.

On Friday, city crews moved barricades to the center of the bridge to funnel traffic to the middle of the bridge, rather than letting it travel on the outside sections. The bridge is more structurally sound in its middle section, Turner said.

The city closed the bridge last week to vehicle traffic after the inspector determined that the bridge’s beams were structurally unsound and presented a hazard. The bridge is near the intersection of Reynolds Park Road and Peachtree Street at its eastern end and near the parking lot of the Salvation Army Carlson Boys and Girls Club at its western end.

Pedestrians and cyclists were still allowed to cross the bridge on its sidewalk.

City officials said that the bridge is scheduled to be replaced in 2015.

About 9,800 vehicles travel daily on that section of Reynolds Park Road.

Franklin Brown, who lives near the bridge on Peachtree Street, said he is concerned about the bridge’s safety despite the city reopening it. But he said that the closing “was very disruptive” to him and others who live on Peachtree. A detour took traffic along Peachtree.

“I was concerned with so many cars coming around the corner (the intersection of Reynolds Park Road and Peachtree Street) so fast,” he added. “I could hardly back out of my driveway.”

Bo Clary, who works at Reynolds Park Golf Course, said he was glad the city reopened the bridge in time for the Memorial Day weekend. The bridge’s closure resulted in about 20 percent fewer golfers playing rounds through Friday at the golf course, Clary said.

“It definitely affected us,” Clary said. “People would call us after they turned on Reynolds Park Road when the bridge was closed. We had to reroute them through the neighborhoods to get here.”

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