Perquimans River S-Bridge -- By Colleen Brown



What’s new, unusual, distinctive and exciting in Perquimans County as 2017 begins? The ongoing saga of the nearly-unique S-Bridge across the Perquimans River connecting Winfall with the lovely historic district of Hertford. Probably the only s-shaped swing bridge still operational in the United States, the bridge was built in the 1920s the latest in a succession of bridges across that stretch of water since first wooden float bridge in the late 1700s. One of Perquimans County’s signature features, the bridge brings traffic from the Highway 17 bypass into downtown Hertford and shelters another famous attraction in Perquimans County -- the turtle log. A favorite of photographers, the log protruding from the river has offered a spot for local turtles to sun and for local children to count the turtles and predict the weather (more turtles = more sun). The bridge spans the river right where legend has it that Tin Pan Alley artist Benny Davis, driving through Perquimans County on his way to Florida, saw the moon in the river and was inspired to write “Carolina Moon.” The S-Bridge carries almost a century of Perquimans County history and culture. And, for the past several years, NCDOT has debated replacing it with a more modern causeway.
However that debate ends, whatever fate has in store for the S-Bridge, in the near future it will be enjoying a facelift. Beginning on January 9, 2017, the S-Bridge will be closed to traffic as the existing metal & asphalt deck is replaced with a wooden deck, to reduce the overall weight of the bridge. The NCDOT is undertaking the project and expect that the bridge will be remain closed until early April. Interestingly, this is not the first time that the deck has been replaced on the bridge. In the 1980s, the bridge went through a very similar process, only in reverse! The existing wooden bridge deck and wooden framing elements of the bridge were removed and replaced with steel.
So, what with the bridge renovation and work on the possibility of replacing the bridge entirely, the narrow neck of the Perquimans River just between Hertford and Winfall will see a lot of traffic this winter. Even in the last week of December 2016, barges commissioned by NCDOT were testing the riverbed to gather information about the viability of a replacement causeway. The renewing of the bridge will be quite a spectacle in Hertford this winter. Stop by and watch as the deck and even some of the support structures are replaced and the historical bridge is brought into the 21st century. 

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Perquimans River S-Bridge -- By Colleen Brown Perquimans River S-Bridge -- By Colleen Brown Reviewed by kensunm on 7:00:00 PM Rating: 5

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