Reopening of Barefoot swing bridge on schedule - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Reopening of Barefoot swing bridge on schedule

From the City of North Myrtle Beach

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC The Barefoot Resort & Golf swing bridge has been repainted and the goal is to reopen the bridge to at least one lane of vehicle traffic sometime during the late evening of January 16. However, January 13 wind speeds will determine whether or not that reopening date can be achieved.

If wind speeds approach 20 mph, the shrouding that covers the bridge cannot be removed.

At that point the risk of the wind taking hold of the shroud and throwing workers from the bridge becomes too great. As this release was written, January 13 wind speeds at the bridge location were constant at between 18 and 20 mph, with gusts of up to 22 mph.

If wind speeds allow, crews will begin to remove the shrouding from the bridge on January 13. They will then remove contractor materials from the bridge, and then test swing the bridge on January 15. If all goes well, the bridge would reopen during the late evening of January 16.

If January 13 wind speeds persist and do not allow for shroud removal, then the reopening of the bridge would be pushed to sometime on January 18.

"We are close to nailing the original reopening date," said North Myrtle Beach Public Information Officer Pat Dowling. "However, my advice to Barefoot residents, businesses and visitors who need to make travel or delivery plans today is to focus on a January 18 reopening date. We will keep them advised of any changes."

Once movement to the bridge has been fully restored, one lane will be open to vehicle traffic for about two days. During that time, steel workers will replace some steel plates located below the road bed, and painters will then paint the new plates. This is necessary because, during the repainting process, it was discovered that the drain pipes that drain the road bed when it rains were too short. For years, storm water has poured out of the drains and on to the steel plates, eroding them to the point where they must be replaced.

The old drain pipes, which may have been original to the bridge or may have been installed when the bridge was dry-docked and refurbished prior to its installation at

Barefoot Resort & Golf, have been removed and longer drain pipes have been installed. Painters will also paint some small locations where hardware attached the shroud to the bridge.

When this work has been accomplished, all lanes will reopen to vehicle traffic and the
project will be completed. The deadline for completing the entire repainting project was
February 15, 2012.

In addition to January 13 wind speed conditions, the contractor lost at least one full work week due to other weather conditions:

During the week of January 9, despite having created a heated environment within the shroud, plunging outdoor temperatures brought the core temperature of the bridge's structural steel below the point where paint could effectively be applied. Four days of work were lost. The contractor brought in extra workers and made up for the time lost.

During the week of January 16, a day of strong downpours caused an excessive amount of rainwater to collect on top of the shroud covering the bridge. The sheer weight of the water broke through the top of the shroud. The shroud was repaired but the resulting high humidity within the shrouded work environment extended the time it took to fully dry the bridge structure and to reestablish an environment conducive to the successful application of paint.

The contractor brought in extra workers and made up for the time lost.

9,000 pounds of paint chips were removed from the bridge structure. 12,500 pounds of
new paint was applied to the bridge structure.

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