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DOT awards contract for casino bridge

The N.C. Department of Transportation has awarded a contract for construction of a bridge that will create access to a new casino in Cherokee County.

The bridge will connect U.S. 19/74/129 near Murphy to the new Harrah's Casino owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and managed by Caesar's Entertainment Corporation. The casino is expected to create hundreds of jobs and bring millions of dollars to the area.

Simpson Construction Company, Inc. was awarded the $2.52 million contract. Construction is expected to begin the first week of March and should be finished by mid-November, the DOT said in a news release.

At a later date, the NCDOT will award another contract for construction of a road near the casino.

The bridge work was one of 28 contracts worth $282.3 million recently awarded by NCDOT for highway, bridge and ferry projects across North Carolina. NCDOT awarded the contracts to the lowest bidders, as required by state law. The winning bids for the projects came in almost 5 percent, or $14.2 million, below NCDOT estimates.