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Road, bridge work to hamper I-95 lanes

By Brie Handgraaf

Staff Writer

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Frequent travelers on Interstate 95 beware: Lane closures are expected between the Twin Counties and the Virginia state line through November.

The closures are part of a N.C. Department of Transportation program to improve bridges across the state with the local project involving the repainting of the bridges. The work started in Northampton County near Virginia with crews working their way south, according to spokeswoman Nicole Meister.

The affected stretches of I-95 will be posted each week on the state’s Traveler Information Management System at http://tims.ncdot.gov/tims/default.aspx, where residents can click on the I-95 route then look at the projects detailed under the Incidents tab.

“Folks should expect lane closures anytime within the hours posted,” Meister said. “When crews get more into a routine, they’ll narrow down to which lane is closed and put out more specifics.”

Crews are doing preparation work on the bridges with the painting taking place between now and the end of the project in November.

“They’ll have one lane in each direction closed,” Meister said. “Depending on where they are working, they’ll probably have a lane closed so they can work up on the bridge. They’ll have tarps up to allow the paint to bind.”

The work is necessary to protect and extend the life of the steel structures, all of which were built in the 1960s.

“It is essentially like when you have a wood house and you have to paint it every so often,” Meister said. “The paint keeps it covered and protected or else the wood would chip off. It is the same with the steel, that needs to be maintained to keep from rusting and undergoing deterioration.”

No work is allowed between noon on Fridays and midnight Sunday to avoid adding more delays when the roadway is most traveled. No work will take place on holidays either.

“If people can take an alternate route, particularly locals, we suggest they do because I-95 is such a heavily traveled route,” Meister said. “If they can’t drive on another road, use caution and slow down. Make sure you are paying extra attention to the traffic in front of you because we don’t want someone not paying attention to rear end someone who is stopped.”