KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — TDOT is warning motorists about a detour along Interstate 40 at the Tennessee-North Carolina line. The North Carolina Department of Transportation is replacing the bridge over Harmon Den Road at Exit 7 in Haywood County.
The detour will begin on Saturday, Nov. 13, and construction is expected to last six months. All traffic will be funneled into a one-lane pattern ahead of the bridge and use the ramps as a detour around the bridge. Drivers will then be put back on I-40 at Exit 7 in North Carolina.
NCDOT expects backups for more than eight miles. The Tennessee Department of Transportation suggests drivers take I-81 to I-26 to avoid the area. However, this route adds around 45 minutes to driving time.
The bridge replacement is meant to help reduce the possibility of wildlife accidents by encouraging animals to go underneath the interstate. The plan will create two paths, one on each side of Cold Springs Creek, to help wildlife go from one side of the interstate to the other without interaction with vehicles.
A 9-foot-tall fence will guide animals away from traffic to the trails under the bridge. NCDOT also is evaluating the use of wildlife guards, which are similar to slotted cattle guards, to prevent deer and elk from walking up the ramps.