NCDOT Division 14 officials and the contractor, based in Canton, will meet on Friday to develop a specific plan to repair concrete on the bridge over Jonathan Creek and White Oak Road.
This emergency work is needed due to recent rapid deterioration of the concrete surface. The deterioration has been increasing the possibility for road hazards.
The $436,500 contract calls for crews to use hydro-demolition to remove old concrete from the 53-year-old bridge, and then pour new concrete to complete the repairs. Temperatures above 50 degrees are required to pour concrete, which makes identifying a specific date difficult based on the five-day weather forecast. The contract calls for work to be completed by Nov. 22.
“This work needs to be done before the bridge conditions deteriorate heading into winter,” Division 14 maintenance engineer Wesley Grindstaff said. “It is unfortunate that we have to close the interstate, but this is the only way to complete the repairs and to do so quickly and safely.”
Transportation officials will announce the closure of both westbound lanes starting at the U.S. 276 interchange and ending at the Tennessee State line at least 24 hours in advance. The work may take up to five days to complete.
Drivers desiring to reach points on I-40, west of the state line once the closure is in place should take I-40 to Exit 53B (I-240 West) for 5 miles to Exit 4A (I-26 West) and follow that for 74 miles, crossing into Tennessee. They can then take Exit 8A for I-81 South and continue 57 miles to re-access I-40 near Dandridge, Tenn. The detour from Asheville to Dandridge takes about 45 minutes longer than traveling from Asheville through the Pigeon River Gorge. Local residents and emergency response teams will have access to homes in the area.
NCDOT officials will post the closure on digital message boards announcing the closure as far away as I-40 in Iredell County, I-26 in Polk County and I-26 in Madison County. Transportation officials in Tennessee and South Carolina will also post messages along I-26 alerting drivers of the closure and the detour.
Transportation officials advise drivers to plan additional time into travel plans and follow posted detour signs and digital message boards instead of way-finding apps.