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New I-40 Bridge in Pigeon River Gorge Open to Traffic

Interstate traffic is flowing unimpeded once again through the Pigeon River Gorge.

Crews from the N.C. Department of Transportation removed barricades and opened all lanes of a new bridge on Interstate 40 over Cold Springs Creek and Harmon Den Road at Exit 7 on Thursday night.
“We are very excited to get people travelling through the gorge ahead of a major holiday weekend,” said Division 14 Resident Engineer Nathan Tanner. “Replacing any bridge on I-40 is quite a task and crews accomplished the goal in about seven months. But that doesn’t mean all the work is complete.”
Crews from Kiewit Infrastructure South will spend the coming weeks replacing pipes under ramps and completing accommodations for wildlife in the area. Some of this construction will require nighttime lane closures and occasional daytime closures. 
They will finish grading in the area, install fencing, place slotted cattle-guards and complete a unique wildlife passage along the creek under the bridge. 
“We’re happy to complete a major portion of this project and delighted to start work on wildlife improvement operations,” Division 14 Engineer Wanda Austin said. “All of the work with interest groups, transportation and wildlife experts to incorporate unique features is all coming together to benefit the people who drive the gorge and the animals who live there.”
This bridge is the first in a series to replace five outdated bridges in the Pigeon River Gorge near the Tennessee state line. 
Kewit replaced this 56-year-old bridge as part of a $19 million contract which calls for completion of all operations in May 2024. The new bridge features 12-foot-wide travel lanes 10-foot-wide outside shoulders with 2-foot-wide inside shoulders.
Construction to replace a bridge over White Oak Road near mile marker 19 is scheduled to start late this summer with minimal impacts through this fall. 
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