Work to replace an aging, wooden bridge that some vehicles were unable to cross began last week in Macon County. An N.C. Department of Transportation contractor is replacing the Snow Hill Road bridge over Cowee Creek. The road is closed at the bridge, which must be demolished before the new one can be built. The 56-year-old bridge has become functionally obsolete, meaning it has vehicle weight limits and a narrow driving deck. The bridge is also structurally deficient, so it requires more extensive maintenance and repairs that require periodic road closures. The new bridge will have a more durable concrete deck that is also wider to accommodate big trucks and school buses, which could not cross the existing span. The project includes a new storm drainage system to help reduce future flooding. The road is expected to reopen with the new bridge by the end of this year. In the meantime, barricades have gone up to protect the public and the workers at the bridge. A signed detour is sending motorists onto Cowee Creek Road and Leatherman Gap Road to go around the closed section of Snow Hill Road.