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First I-40 Weekend-Long Closings Are on the Way

The work zone on the eastbound side in Durham County will be narrowed from 8 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday, weather permitting. It could make for a tough weekend for drivers.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The North Carolina Department of Transportation will have the first weekend-long shutdown of Interstate 40 lanes this weekend  in the repaving project that will be affecting traffic in one way or another through November.

Crews will close the left two of the three lanes in the stretch between N.C. 751 (Exit 274) and Fayetteville Road (Exit 276) from Friday evening to Monday morning, weather permitting, NCDOT said.

During the week, they are closing the two left lanes in places most nights between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., though NCDOT canceled Thursday's night work because of expected rain.

The overall zone for the first portion of the project is from around U.S. Highway 15-501 (Exit 270) to Fayetteville Road.

Machines are ripping out concrete that was laid wrong during the widening of the road and replacing it with asphalt.

Through November and then next spring, the project involves a moving work zone that will progress about 10 miles east to N.C. 147, the Durham Freeway, then shift to the westbound side and go back to 15-501.

Details about road closures, including specific dates, times and locations, are on the NCDOT I-40 project Web site. The state's recommended alternate route for motorists traveling east on I-40 is to take Interstate 85 to the Durham Freeway and for motorists traveling west to take the reverse route when work switches to that side.

Other weekend closings are scheduled for:

  • May 18-21
  • June 1-4
  • June 8-11
  • June 15-18
  • June 22-25
  • June 29-July 2

The state also listed holidays and other times when crews will not be narrowing the roadway because traffic is expected to be heavy. Work will stop during the winter, too. The state's "no work" list:

  • Memorial Day: No work 6 a.m. Friday, May 25, to 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 28.
  • Independence Day: No work 6 a.m. Tuesday, July 3, to 8 p.m. Friday, July 6.
  • Labor Day: No work 6 a.m. Friday, Aug. 31, to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 4.
  • Winter: No paving between Nov. 15 and March 15.
  • Special events: Work hours restricted for events expected to generate heavy traffic. For football and basketball games at area universities, graduations and the State Fair, no lanes in the prominent travel direction will be closed six hours before the event and six hours afterward.

A $50 million project that snared commuters in 2003 and 2004 widened I-40 to three lanes in each direction. Expansion joints were not properly cut into the concrete to accommodate winter cold and summer heat that shrinks and swells the pavement, however, and it began to crumble not long after the job was done.

The DOT and highway contractors argued for months over who was to blame for the problems with the widening project before deciding to split the $21 million cost to repair the pavement.

Lane Construction Corp. of Meriden, Conn., NCDOT's contractor for the current project, will break out the concrete and replace it with asphalt. Two of the three lanes will need to be closed where work is going on, officials say.

Normal work hours will be from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. weekdays and from 8 p.m. until 8 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday mornings.  

Lane's deadline for finishing is May 2008.


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