COLUMBIA, N.C. — Road crews are closing a major bridge to the North Carolina Outer Banks so they can renovate the parts that help open the drawbridge.

The state Department of Transportation says it will close the Alligator River bridge that carries U.S. Highway 64 early Wednesday. Officials hope to reopen the bridge between Tyrrell and Dare counties by the end of March 20.

The DOT says crews will replace the electrical and mechanical components to extend the life of the 58-year-old two-lane bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway about 40 miles (64 kilometers) west of the Outer Banks

Officials say drivers heading to or from the Outer Banks can use U.S. 264 as a detour, but it doubles the typical 30-mile (48-kilometer) trip.