Local News

Major Part of Interstates 40, 85 To Be Closed Saturday Morning

Posted May 25, 2000

— Tourists who plan to hit the road this weekend may want to hold on. One of the state's major gateways is about to become a major traveling headache.

Duke Energycrews will shut down the eight-mile stretch on Interstates 40 and 85 between Burlington and Graham at 6 a.m. Saturday to repair lines damaged by Thursday's severe storms.

Duke Energy was in discussions all day long with theDepartment of Transportation, trying to figure out how and when to close the road.

"The type of storms that came through did a lot of damage to our system," says Duke Energy official Guyann Savage. "We were looking at a lot of times, but we want to minimize the time, get the lines up, power restored for customers and get holiday travel back to normal."

As a result, I-40 and 85 will be closed at 6 a.m. Saturday from Highway 49 in Burlington to Highway 119 near Graham.

"We decided that during the day today (Friday), there would be so much traffic on the interstate," says DOT official Kelly Hutchinson. "It didn't make a lot of sense to put all that traffic on U.S. 70 during the day. It's much safer, and there will be much less traffic tomorrow morning at 6 a.m."

The DOT is giving Duke Energy 45 minutes to complete the work but some say the work could take longer. State officials are suggesting that drivers use Highway 70 as a detour if they plan to be in the area.

There are several other lane closings that could throw a kink into the Memorial Day weekend road trip.

  • U.S. 64 east in Wake County has been cut to one lane for about three miles east of Zebulon.
  • Interstates 85 and 40 north in Guilford County is reduced to two lanes from mile marker 130 to mile marker 132. Southbound traffic will be two lanes from mile marker 135 to mile marker 130.
  • Also in Guilford County, I-85 has been trimmed to two lanes from mile marker 130 to mile marker 121.
  • Further west in Burke County, Interstate 40 is reduced to one lane from mile marker 90 to mile marker 95.

    AAA estimates more than 28 million people will drive over the Memorial Day holiday. Another 6 million people will take buses, trains and planes to their destinations.

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