Harkers Island Team Places First Barge Load of Bridge Girders

by Balfour Beatty

October 19, 2022

The Harkers Island Bridge Replacement team in Harkers Island, North Carolina, recently installed the first barge load of concrete girders. This latest accomplishment comes just over a year after the project's groundbreaking in September 2021. The team has now installed 14 of the bridge’s 28 total girder spans and poured the first four bridge deck sections.

While the majority of freight in the U.S. is moved by truck, the Harkers Island team opted to transport the bridge girders on the water by barge. This decision was a strategic one. Had the team transported the girders by truck, it would have required additional time and labor to double-handle the girders prior to placement. 

This was just one of the many dynamic project solutions the team developed throughout the course of construction. To eliminate the need to perform a full excavation prior to pile placement, the team leveraged a probe during the pre-drilling process. This not only met the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s (NCDOT) quality and safety standards but also saved valuable time and money. 

Innovative solutions like these are especially fitting for the construction of a first-of-its-kind, steel-free bridge. The team is leveraging the latest technologies including non-corroding carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) strands in place of steel. CFRP is corrosion-free, so the new Harkers Island Bridge is expected to better withstand the elements in a coastal environment, resulting in less maintenance and a longer lifespan for the bridge.

The project is slated for completion in the fall of 2025.