Update 11:10 AM: The North River Bridge reopened to traffic just after 11 am, about an hour ahead of NC DOT estimates. Both lanes are open.
NC DOT spokesperson Lauren Haviland said the crane was on a barge, which simplified the removal process.
“NC DOT is going to investigate the incident to 1. Find out how it happened; 2. Ensure it doesn’t happen again,” Haviland said.
The crane damaged a railing, but no structural damage was found.
Traffic was stopped for two hours after the incident, effectively cutting Down East off from the rest of the county.
Update 10:45 AM: Verizon phone service for the entire state went out around 10 am, cramping communications capabilities for many local individuals and organizations.
Brandy Osborne of Carteret County Emergency Services said anyone Down East who uses Verizon should find a landline or alternative communication method in case of emergency.
EMS officials have come up with a solution to transport patients needing emergency medical care until the North River Bridge is reopened.
Update 10:30 AM: Spokesperson Lauren Haviland said NC DOT estimates that the bridge will reopen by noon today. An alert from the county received at 10:30 am stated that the bridge would be closed for two hours.
Haviland said bridge maintenance crews are on scene and a DOT engineer is en route to the site.
Original Story: A crane collapsed on the North River Bridge just after 9 am Friday, cutting off traffic completely. The North River Bridge is the only way in or out of Down East.
As of 10 am, NC Dept. of Transportation spokesperson Lauren Haviland said that there is no estimate as to when traffic will be flowing again.
“It happened between 9 and 9:30 [am],” Haviland said. “We are still working to figure out how this happened.”
No injuries have been reported to NC DOT, she said, and damage is minimal.
“Any visible damage appears just to be the railing. At this time it doesn’t look like there’s any structural damage,” Haviland said.
After the contractor removes the crane, the bridge will be inspected for structural integrity before being opened back up to traffic.
The crane was being operated by a contractor rather than NC DOT staff. DOT engineers are investigating the incident.
The Beacon will continue to stay in touch with NC DOT and will update reopening information as it becomes available.
This is a developing story.