I-40 bridge replacement to include wildlife underpass


SYLVA, N.C. (AP) — The N.C. Department of Transportation says work to replace a bridge on Interstate 40 in western North Carolina will benefit both motorists and wildlife.

A news release from NCDOT says plans to replace the bridge over Harmon Den Road at Exit 7 in Haywood County include paths on each side of Cold Springs Creek to help wildlife migrate from one side of the interstate to the other without dealing with traffic.

In addition, NCDOT is evaluating the use of wildlife guards to prevent deer and elk from walking up the ramps, according to the news release. It’s hoped that wildlife will choose to cross under the bridge and reduce the possibility of car-animal accidents.

The traffic plan for the project includes a six-month detour with drivers using the exit and on-ramps. Starting as soon as Nov. 9, traffic will be funneled into a one-lane pattern before the bridge and use the ramps as a detour around it, the news release said. Traffic will remain in this pattern into May while crews remove and replace the deteriorating bridge.

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