Stretch of Cary Parkway closed for three weeks after culvert fire

Posted March 21, 2013
Updated March 22, 2013

It could take the state Department of Transportation several weeks to replace a culvert under Cary Parkway after what authorities are calling a "suspicious fire" in the tunnel Thursday night.

— The North Carolina Department of Transportation said Friday that all westbound lanes of Cary Parkway from Lake Pine Drive to Two Creeks Road will be closed for about three weeks to replace a culvert destroyed by fire.

DOT spokesman Steve Abbott said engineers will have to replace about 100 feet of the 12-by-8-foot pipe, which is expected to cost at least $400,000. The damaged pipe will have to be removed, which will require tearing up the pavement, and then the road will be re-paved once the new culvert is installed.

About 30,000 cars travel the Cary Parkway each day, Abbott said.

On Friday, drivers were being detoured onto Tryon Road.

The Town of Cary said the fire, which they ruled suspicious and man-made, started just after 6 p.m. Thursday in the culvert under Cary Parkway. The heat from the blaze caused part of the massive pipe to collapse. 

Officials said there's no evidence to clearly show whether the blaze was accidental or malicious. The town is investigating.


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  • snossg1 Mar 28, 2013

    A civil engineer i know said that this culvert was not well maintained , that if it was the fire would not have caused that much damage.

  • Bobber Mar 25, 2013

    I finally understand the Tryon Road comment. There are two separate detours. If you reach the "road closed" barrier on Cary Parkway, you are detoured north onto Two Creeks Road and then southwest on Lake Pine Drive until you return to Cary Parkway. But if you are coming from farther east, there is a separate detour at the Kildaire Farm Road intersection, with signs warning that only local traffic should continue west on Cary Parkway. Other traffic is detoured south onto KF Road, then westward on Tryon Road (which quickly changes into US 64), and then northeast on Lake Pine Drive to return to Cary Parkway.

    It's ironic that WRAL has chosen to use Tryon Road to refer to this latter detour. Of the four roads involved in that detour (Kildaire Farm, Tryon, US 64, Lake Pine), the Tryon segment is by far the shortest. It would have made way more sense to refer to it as a detour to US 64.

  • Bobber Mar 25, 2013

    Oleguy, you would lose that bet. That tunnel is part of the greenway system for my neighborhood, and is (or was) traversed by scores of people every day -- joggers, people walking the dog, kids riding bikes, etc. There's no way a homeless person could have set up camp there without being noticed.

  • Bendal1 Mar 25, 2013

    This isn't a small water line that can be bored underneath the road while traffic keeps driving over it. This is a very large corrugated metal culvert, and it will need to be dug up and replaced. Also, DOT no longer uses asphalt coated metal pipe; the asphalt coating wore off where the water ran and ended up in the water system, so it didn't really help keep it from corroding. With the size of this culvert and depending on the depth it is under the road, the trench could easily be 20' wide.

  • oleguy Mar 25, 2013

    Someone was living under there, wanta bet,As long as its dry these make good living quarters, Once the rain starts they move back under a large bridge, Start looking up under bridges back at the top next to the road between the beams, good shelter, and the concret stays warm all winter, Disclaimer: Dont do this during rush hour traffic at 70 MPH.

  • common tater Mar 22, 2013

    Bored teens? Yes. Prank? No. Unfortunately hoodlems seem drawn to tunnels where they feel hidden...the one close to us is always being defaced with paint.

  • BoyInBlue Mar 22, 2013

    Headache for all!

  • jet2rdu Mar 22, 2013

    Bare steel pipe will eventually corrode or rust.

    They can typically be be coated inside and/or coated outside with Bituminous Asphalt or Coal Tar Epoxy to prevent corrosion. In most cases the requested coating is applied when the pipe is ordered from the pipe supplier.

  • I know some stuff Mar 22, 2013

    it's unbelieveable that such a major road, could be allowed to close for 3 wks, for what is really not all that major, nor different from a ruptured water main.
    you'd think they could consider using one east bound lane, for westbound??

  • goode88 Mar 22, 2013

    Well Tryon Road is mentioned because people who are going westbound would need to be diverted before going arcoss U.S. 1.