RALEIGH — If you routinely drive the Raleigh beltline over Atlantic Avenue, get ready for that trip to be anything but routine. Starting Saturday, theDepartment of Transportationwill close two lanes of the outer beltline at the Atlantic Avenue bridge. The lanes will stay closed around-the-clock for at least eight weeks.
OnJune 28, a trash truck slammed into the support beams under the bridge. The structure is gradually getting weaker.
Fixing the structure will be a big headache for the 100,000 drivers who use this section of the beltline every day.
The biggest impact of the repair project is where the outer beltline goes over Atlantic Avenue between Wake Forest Road and Capital Boulevard. Two inside lanes of the outer loop will be closed 24 hours a day for six to eight weeks.
Atlantic Avenue will be completely blocked this weekend, then the news gets a little better.
"We'll have it open for Monday morning rush hour traffic," says Jerry Linder of the DOT. "After that, we will be closing different lanes on Atlantic Avenue, but at peak rush hour traffic in the mornings and afternoons we'll have all four lanes open."
The outer beltline is a major route for many people going to theState Fair. This weekend, the first weekend of the fair, is when the lane closures start.
Why did the DOT do that?
"Floyd put us behind because of all the DOT personnel we had to send down east and everything else. But we feel like we need to go ahead and get started on it because we need to get everything done before winter," says Linder.
Crews will work constantly, and drivers can expect around-the-clock hassles.
The DOT says there is no specific detour around the bridge repair site. They suggest avoiding the area altogether if you can.