DOT Taking Bids For $74 Million High-Rise Bridge In Morehead City

A drawbridge that's been an icon in a small coastal town, will be replaced by a high-rise bridge.

The Gallants Channel Bridge connects Morehead City to Beaufort, in Carteret County.

The Department of Transportation is now taking bids for the $74 million bridge project.

In the Summer, the drawbridge opens nearly every 30 minutes to let boat traffic through, causing big traffic pile-up's on either side.

The new bridge will have a 65-foot clearance, allowing boats to move freely without opening the bridge.

Morehead City's Mayor says the bridge will improve the flow of traffic, but the change is something locals find hard to embrace.

Terry Murphy said, "I'd rather have them invest in repairing the bridge we currently have. For years, I've been able to use the bridge as an excuse to be late for things. It makes you slow down. That's unique and i treasure that."

The mayor said he expects to see construction start in the next year, with completion estimated for 2017. The bridge will start from the Beaufort-Morehead City Causeway, heading across Gallants Channel, and ending at West Beaufort Road.