The Interstate 95 North bridge damaged by a fire Tuesday afternoon is expected
to remain closed until samples of the damaged steel beams can be analyzed today
at a Raleigh lab.
The bridge that spans U.S. 421 at Exit 73 was closed about 2 p.m. Tuesday after
a box truck that had caught fire stalled underneath the bridge, exposing the
steel girders to fire and intense heat. The driver was unhurt.
This morning, inspectors from two units of the N.C. Department of
Transportation that specialize in bridges and the testing of materials traveled
to the scene to collect samples and assess the damage.
NCDOT officials anticipate knowing the test results of the damage sometime
later today. Based on those results, NCDOT may be able to safely reopen a
single lane, or possibly both, of the northbound bridge. The department will
announce that decision later today.
In the meantime, traffic is being detoured off the exit ramp, crossing U.S. 421
and re-entering the highway. The NCDOT set up barricades for the detour on
Tuesday and got assistance from Dunn police and the State Highway Patrol to
manage the detoured traffic, until NCDOT could temporarily adjust the traffic
signal timing to help relieve the congestion.
Additionally, U.S. 421 North (going into Dunn) also remains closed for safety
pending the test results and cleanup work of the bridge.