Cullowhee bridge construction causing headaches

A Cullowhee bridge undergoing construction for deterioration repairs is causing delays and inconveniences for residents who are accustomed to crossing it.

Bridge 82, on State Road 1002 near the intersection of Rogers Road, will be closed for reconstruction for 150 days.

Joshua Deyton, Division 14 Bridge Management Engineer of the N.C. DOT, said the repairs are “due to the deterioration of the bridge deck and other vital components of the bridge. These types of repairs now will prolong the life of the structure, thus eliminating the need for a much more costly bridge replacement for a long time.”

The bridge itself will not be completely pulled down, but the repairs are wide-ranging.

“The bridge is having extensive repairs that will include the replacement of the bridge deck and bridge rails, and painting of bridge beams,” Deyton said. “The major structural components of the bridge will remain in place because they are in relatively good shape.”

Deyton said commuters will only add two or three minutes to their drive.

“Commuters will be able to utilize SR 1170, Rogers Road, as a detour, which will eliminate most delay,” he said.

Nearby student community Carolina Village believes the detour is a nuisance.

Travis Bramlett from Southern Squirrel Prosperities, owner of Carolina Village, spoke of his personal and residents’ disgruntles on the construction.

“It’s a total inconvenience… and I’m at that property every single day,” Bramlett said.

He continued that the detour takes him three miles out of the way, and that he and his residents must backtrack to the old entrance for Highway 107 to drive back into Cullowhee.

Residents of Carolina Village complain to Bramlett that they are late for class due to the extra time it takes to get to the university.

Western Carolina University junior Deanna Braine put into perspective how the bridge construction has made her commute a headache.

“I have to wake up every morning to the sounds of construction,” Braine said. “My route to school used to take me two minutes, now it takes me 10 minutes.”

Bramlett said he was not made aware of the sudden construction and was shocked to learn how long the repairs will take to complete.

“I just want it to hurry up,” he said.

“I want to know why they didn’t try to do at least half of this over summer,” Braine added.