Durham Freeway bridge set to be replaced, finally

It’s about f*ckin’ time. Known as “The Ugly Green Thing” on Waymarking’s website, the pedestrian bridge over the Durham Freeway is not the most attractive entrance to the Bull City. Yet, if you’re traveling up 147 from either Research Triangle Park or from I-40 (as most people coming to Durham from Raleigh would), then this behemoth is what greets you.

By the end of May, that may all change.

From today’s Herald Sun…

Bridge replacement set to begin
The Herald-Sun
May 19, 2009

DURHAM — Demolition and replacement of the pedestrian bridge at Alston Avenue will begin later this month, resulting in overnight traffic detours on N.C. 147.

Beginning May 26 and lasting approximately two weeks, traffic on the Durham Freeway will be rerouted using Briggs and Alston avenues as detours from 11 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. as crews complete the demolition of the old pedestrian bridge.

After demolition is complete and the new bridge span arrives, crews will again close N.C. 147 during the same hours and using the same detour routes until the new bridge span is in place. The second closure will be announced once this date is set.

Read the rest at the Herald Sun’s website.

I wrote a column about the 147 bridge in May 2006, at which time the story was that the bridge was set to be demolished in the fall of 2006 and that the new bridge might possibly be open by the fall of 2007. When delays in fulfilling promises take this long, what should be celebrated as good news turns into bittersweet resentment.

new Durham Freeway (Hwy 147) bridge design, ca. 2006

new Durham Freeway (Hwy 147) bridge design, ca. 2006

new Durham Freeway bridge design, ca. 2006

new Durham Freeway bridge design, ca. 2006

American Tobacco Trail bridge supporters take note. As I pointed out in October 2007, for most of the time I have lived in Durham construction dates for the American Tobacco Trail bridge over I-40 and the new pedestrian bridge over 147 are indexical: no matter when you ask, the answer is always “they should be completed in about 2 years.”

So, I’ll believe it when I see it.

Design images courtesy of Stewart Design


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