I-40 Lane Closures Set To Resume Overnight

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CLAYTON, N.C. — Transportation officials cut short a lane closure on Interstate 40 Friday afternoon after traffic backed up well beyond the limit they had set.

Crews had planned to shut I-40 down to one lane between

N.C. 42 and U.S. Route 70

from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

But, after traffic backups reached seven miles at one point, they decided to reopen the highway and delay a paving project.

Transportation officials had planned to reopen the road if traffic backed up more than four miles. By 3 p.m., traffic stretched out seven miles.

But, the headaches are not over. The work will continue starting at midnight Friday and should be completed by noon Saturday, officials said. The overnight work will include both sides of I-40.

The lane closures are part of construction for the Clayton bypass. Crews will be paving a six-mile stretch as part of a new ramp onto the bypass.

"The contractor only has certain times he's allowed in the contract to work," said North Carolina Department of Transportation engineer Kevin Bowen. "You can't put lane closures in during peak weekday rush hours. The weekend is the only time he can accomplish this work and do it as quickly as possible."

Crews did a similar lane closure back in June. The Clayton bypass is expected to be complete by 2009.

If motorists wish to avoid the construction, highways 70 and 50 can be used as detours. The NCDOT has another temporary lane closure set for that section of I-40 in August.