Midnight Saturday Opening Planned for the New U.S. 70/N.C. 50 Bridge in South Raleigh Friday, November 08, 2013

RALEIGH — The new U.S. 70/N.C. 50 bridge over U.S. 401 is scheduled to open this weekend in south Raleigh, weather permitting. Lane closures will be put into place to assist with directing traffic to the structure.

To prepare for the shift, starting at 9 p.m. tonight traffic at Tryon Road on U.S. 70 East will merge to the left lane, and on U.S. 401 South to the right lane. This traffic pattern will continue throughout the day Saturday until midnight when, for an hour, a rolling road block will be used to switch traffic into a one lane-pattern on the new bridge.

Crews will then complete paving and lane striping on eastbound U.S. 70, and both lanes of the new bridge will open by 6 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 11.

Drivers on the new bridge will have a higher clearance over the highway below than the 61-year-old bridge it replaced, with wider shoulders on the roadway approaching the bridge.

Once the new bridge is open, motorists will not be able to make a left-hand turn on Mechanical Boulevard from U.S. 70 East for a few weeks. A short detour will take drivers to Timber Road to get to Mechanical Boulevard. The detour will remain in place until final details are completed in early December. The $3 million project began in late May.

The new bridge went up with minimal inconvenience for drivers in the area. Because of high traffic volume on those roads, most of the work was done at night, with no lane closures allowed on U.S. 401, U.S. 70 or Mechanical Boulevard between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Sundays. The exceptions were when the roadway needed to be completely closed for safety reasons because of the type of work being done, and that was only on weekends. In addition, the new bridge is in a slightly different location from the old structure so initial work could be done without closing the original bridge.

This replacement project is part of the NCDOT’s state-funded bridge program, which invests in preserving, repairing or replacing bridges statewide. For more information on this program, visit our Bridge Improvement Program webpage.

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