As part of CFC's advocacy role, the club coordinates and works with NCDOT to provide feedback from cyclist's perspective. Below are the notes from a recent meeting.
Trask Drawbridge Update - May 2018
Improvements for cyclists crossing the Heide Trask Bridge.
Thehigh level of traffic on Wrightsville Avenue crossing the ICWW to or from Wrightsville Beach makes getting from one side of Wrightsville Avenueto the other challenging and dangerous .
The Wilmington Metro Planning Organization (WMPO) has provided the following information about the construction of a Bike/Ped Walkway underneath the Bridge on the mainland side. The walkway will connect to the Cross City Trail on the north side of Wrightsville Avenue and to Airlie Road on the south side. The anticipated completion date is November 20, 2018. (diagram is attached)
Another project to improve the safety of cyclists on the bridge itself is also underway. NCDot, Division 3 is developing plans to make the lift grates sections of the Bridge less slippery for bicycles. They have examined several otions and are now focusing on one that looks most promising. More information will be posted here once the plans are more definite.
Meeting with DOT regarding Cyclists and Trask Bridge - December 2018
NCDOT Division 3, Deputy Division Engineer, Chad Kimes, held a meeting on Monday, December 18, 2017 with his staff to develop "fix" for the hazardous situation for cyclists crossing ICWW to and From Wrightsville Beach on the Heide Trask Bridge. In addition to the DoT staff, Chad invited Jim Mincher, Carol Stein and Al Schroetel to attend to update us on this problem and seek our input on possible solutions. Mike Kozlosky, City of Wilmington Transportation Planning Manager and Abby Lorenzo, Wilmington Metro Planning Organization (WMPO) staff also attended at Chad's invitation.
Background: Chad and his staff summarized the history of NCDOTs efforts to fix this problem, as follows:
- When the steel grid lift sections of the bridge were replaced approximately three years ago it was discovered that the new grid patterns made it hazardous for cyclists, especially when wet.
- Once the problem was identified NCDOT Division 3 obtained special funding to place a path of "bike safe" plates on the metal grids on the bridge.
- Division 3 requested bids from commercial contractors to install the plates two times, did not receive any bids on the project.
- Two major engineering problems make the project more complex than anticipated:The supporting structure of the moveable part of the bridge make it very difficult to attach the safety plates
- The added weight of the safety plates have to be offset with counter-weights added to the base of the bridge lift mechanism to permit bridge opening operations. The location to install the counter-weights is extremely small.
Current Status: The Division 3 staff has researched numerous alternative approaches;
- Use of lighter plates. Found that they were not suitable for installation and still required counter-weights
- Pour light weight concrete over a portion of the metal grids. Still added weight and might not hold up in a marine environment (moisture and salt corrosion)
- Replace the bridge railings with aluminum rails to offset the increased weight of the plates. This would require a major restructuring of the bridge.
- Spray a light weight anti-skid coating to create a path across the grids. Concern is the durability of the anti-skid material
- Grind and smooth the "dimples" on the grid. This would remove the existing anti-corrosion coating and would probably result in rapid deterioration of the bridge lift grids.
It was decided that the application of the anti-skid coating was the most promising approach. The anti-skid coating, in a distinguishing color, would be applied to the outside 30 inches of each side by the sidewalk. This would be done when the temp is above 50 degrees and requires a 48 hour lane closure to harden properly. Therefore, it would most likely be done in March 2018. The cost is about $25,000.
The Division 3 staff is going to research this approach and will hold a review of their findings in February 2018. Representatives from CFC and the WMPO will participate in that status review.