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Part of Alston Avenue in Durham is closing for a year starting Friday evening

A half-mile stretch of North Alston Avenue in Durham will be closed to through traffic for a year starting Friday evening.
A half-mile stretch of North Alston Avenue in Durham will be closed to through traffic for a year starting Friday evening.

A nearly half mile stretch of North Alston Avenue will be closed to through traffic starting Friday evening and is expected to remain closed for a year.

Contractors for the N.C. Department of Transportation are widening Alston and will use closure time to also replace water and sewer pipes under the pavement between Main and Liberty streets. The closure was to begin Wednesday but was postponed until sometime after 7 p.m. Friday.

The closure will take place in two six-month segments. The road will initially be closed between Main and Taylor streets, then reopened to local traffic by mid-summer. Then it will be shut down between Taylor and Liberty streets for the remainder of the year.

Signs will direct drivers on detours that will take them on Main, Elizabeth and Holloway streets.

Altogether, more than a mile of Alston is being expanded to a width of four lanes, with new sidewalks added on both sides. Parts of the wider road will initially be used for on-street parking, which can then be converted to travel lanes when they’re needed in the future, according to NCDOT.

The widening requires new retaining walls and railroad bridges over Alston, as well as a new bridge to carry the road over the Durham Freeway. NCDOT says the new freeway bridge should be finished this winter, allowing the reopening of all exit and entrance ramps at the interchange.

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Richard Stradling covers transportation for The News & Observer. Planes, trains and automobiles, plus ferries, bicycles, scooters and just plain walking. Also, #census2020. He’s been a reporter or editor for 32 years, including the last 20 at The N&O. 919-829-4739, rstradling@newsobserver.com.
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