DURHAM — Interstate 40 will be shut down for seven hours early Sunday while workers use a big crane to lower the steel frame of a 270-foot-long footbridge into place, spanning the six-lane interstate highway.
I-40 will be closed from midnight to 7 a.m. Sunday between N.C. 751 (Exit 274) and Fayetteville Road (Exit 276), near the Streets at Southpoint mall. Detours will be marked via N.C. 54 (north of I-40) for westbound I-40 travelers and Renaissance Parkway (south of I-40) for eastbound travelers.
Welders have been busy on the I-40 shoulder assembling the steel-tube bridge frame, which was delivered to the site in four pieces. Although the work this week was done entirely on the shoulder and all traffic lanes were open, the construction activity contributed to rush-hour delays as commuters slowed down to see what was going on.
The bridge frame will be lowered Sunday onto support piers on each side of I-40. In the coming weeks, workers will install the bridge deck, fencing, lighting and other elements.
The bridge is part of a 4.2-mile section of the American Tobacco Trail in southern Durham County scheduled to open in July.
Work was delayed for a few weeks after the builder, Blythe Construction Co. of Charlotte, discovered that four support piers on the north side had been built 21/2 feet too high.
A surveyors error was blamed, and Blythe paid for the fix. Workers had to dig out the buried tops of the too-tall piers so they could cut them down to their proper size.
Siceloff: 919-829-4527 or blogs.newsobserver.com/crosstown or twitter.com/Road_Worrier/