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Durham Officials Put Brakes on I-85 Shutdown

Posted July 17, 2007

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— City officials scrambled Tuesday morning to stop what they said was a two-hour closure of Interstate 85 later in the day.

City Manager Patrick Baker said he was shocked to hear the state Department of Transportation and telecommunications company Verizon wanted to block all northbound and southbound lanes between Duke Street and the Durham Freeway from 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesday to lay some fiber-optic lines across the highway.

"I immediately saw some serious concerns, namely, a lack of notice," Baker said.

A Verizon spokesman said the company left a message with the Durham Police Department's communications division at about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday to notify police about the project.

The spokesman and a DOT spokesman both said Durham police misunderstood the message and blew the shutdown out of proportion. They said there were no plans for a two-hour shutdown, only a slow-rolling project that would have taken place in two 10-minute intervals between 2 and 4 p.m.

Baker insisted city officials didn't get anything wrong.

"The bottom line is there should've been plenty of notice. This isn't something you just make a call on (in the) morning under any circumstances," he said.

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  • I Hate Hippies Jul 18, 2007

    Isn't it obvious by now? Durham PD could screw up a two car parade. They'd mess up a free lunch.

  • Bon Viveur Jul 18, 2007

    DUrham roads are scary. They should just make a road that totally by-passes Durham so that people don't have to even go there. They could put a fence around the town and it would be just like the North Carolina Zoo! Except in the zoo the animals don't normally kill each other quite so often.