FAYETTEVILLE – The N.C. Department of Transportation is assessing options on whether to replace a downtown Fayetteville bridge that was extensively damaged by fire on Christmas Day.
According to NCDOT bridge inspectors, a six-inch natural gas line ruptured which sparked the fire on the eastbound bridge of East Russell Street over Blounts Creek. The fire bent the steel beams, caused the deck to sag and some of the concrete driving surface to flake off.
“The fire was intense," said Mike Fisher, the department's bridge maintenance engineer based in Fayetteville. “We are working quickly to establish a plan of action and an estimated timetable to reopen it."
The NCDOT closed the bridge near Old Wilmington Road for traffic going toward Eastern Boulevard. The westbound bridge at the same creek was not affected by the fire and remains open.
The department is advising drivers to use Gillespie Street, the Martin Luther King Jr. Freeway and Eastern Boulevard as the detour.
The NCDOT will update the public on a timeline and what work will be necessary as soon as it is available