A highway contractor has canceled weekend plans that would have slowed daytime traffic on eastbound Interstate 40 in Durham County Saturday and Sunday -- but pavement repairs and lane closures will continue each night.
Richard J. Snow, project manager for Lane Construction Corp., said Thursday he won't schedule a round-the-clock weekend session until his crew gains more experience in removing I-40 concrete and replacing it with asphalt.
The state Department of Transportation requires Lane to work mostly at night, when I-40 traffic is lighter, to limit the inconvenience to drivers. Lane is allowed to schedule nine weekends of day-and-night work during the 13-month project.
"We're not going to do the marathon weekend this weekend," Snow said. "We want to make sure that our process is fine-tuned so we can maximize our progress with that weekend closure. With all the weather we've had so far, I don't feel we're there yet."
Cool, wet weather slowed the start of I-40 repairs. Eben Miller, a DOT engineer, said Lane's work has improved each night. About 7,000 feet of deteriorating concrete has been replaced in one lane of I-40, including about 2,000 feet Wednesday night.
The worst traffic delays so far came Sunday night, when eastbound drivers were backed up for 1.8 miles on I-40, Miller said. Westbound traffic will not be affected until June or July.
The contactor uses specialized machines to grind up the top three inches of concrete, scoop the debris into dump trucks, wash and dry the concrete pavement underneath, and put down a top layer of asphalt.
DOT ordered the $21.7 million repair job to fix errors in an I-40 widening project that are causing the pavement to crumble.
Nighttime repairs continue in the eastbound lanes of I-40 between U.S. 15-501 and N.C. 54 in Durham. Work starts and traffic is reduced to one lane at 8 p.m. -- with all lanes to reopen by 6 a.m. on weekdays, 8 a.m. on weekends.
Lane now plans its first 58-hour weekend work session next weekend, from 8 p.m. Friday, May 4, to 6 a.m. Monday, May 7.
Repair updates and traffic information are available online at I40.newsobserver.com or on DOT's 511 telephone information line.
Staff writer Bruce Siceloff can be reached at 829-4527 or firstname.lastname@example.org