Beginning May 13, the section of West Main Street that runs along East Campus between Buchanan Boulevard and Swift Avenue/Broad Street will be closed for five months for a state bridge replacement project.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation project involves demolishing and rebuilding the 63-year-old bridge over Campus Drive, the main artery connecting East and West campuses.
During the course of the $1.9 million project, motorists trying to access West Main Street from Buchanan Boulevard or Swift Avenue/Broad Street will be redirected from the area through signed detours. Duke buses that service East Campus and Smith Warehouse by way of West Main Street will be rerouted. The fare-free Bull City Connector also will be redirected, and some of its bus stops will be moved.
There will be limited access to West Main Street from Swift Avenue/Broad Street to only enter and exit the circular Southgate residence hall driveway. In August, first-year students will be able to use West Main Street to get to East Campus for move-in day at the start of the academic year. Other than these circumstances, the section of West Main Street that abuts East Campus will be closed.
"We've worked closely with the city and Duke to develop the logistics and project schedule to make this as convenient as possible for the community," said Mark Luther, resident engineer with NCDOT. "The first week may be hectic as people get used to these changes, but it should smooth out. We encourage all commuters to stay informed, plan ahead and allow extra time for travel."
This is a rendering of the new bridge (once completed) over Campus Drive. Photo courtesy of North Carolina Department of Transportation.
Luther said the existing .015-mile bridge over Campus Drive was built in 1950 and has a sufficiency rating of 26 out of 100. "That does not mean the bridge is unsafe," he said. "It means it was not built to current design standards and needs to be replaced."
Also called the "graffiti bridge" for its painted signs, symbols and words, the new concrete bridge will be 45-feet wide and more modern with a bronze railing, which will also improve safety and bicycle access, Luther said.
During construction, pedestrians and motorists traveling to and from East Campus will be able to use the section of Campus Drive that runs under the bridge. However, there may be delays and intermittent closures of the Campus Drive underpass during certain project phases such as bridge demolition. When the underpass is closed, there will be detours to provide access to East Campus.
The following NCDOT detours will be in place on West Main Street during the project:
- Motorists traveling East on Main Street will use Swift Avenue to NC-147 to Chapel Hill Street to Duke Street.
- Motorists traveling West on Main Street will use Gregson Street to Chapel Hill Street to NC-147 to Swift Avenue.
- Trucks traveling West on Main Street will use Buchanan Boulevard to Chapel Hill Street to NC-147 to Swift Avenue. Trucks traveling on Gregson Street will use Peabody Street to Buchanan Boulevard to Chapel Hill Street to NC-147 to Swift Avenue.
In addition to detours, buses that use West Main Street will be rerouted. All C-1 and C-2 Duke buses, as well as the Bull City Connector, will be redirected away from West Main Street. Details about bus stops and route changes are being finalized and will be communicated in the coming weeks. Bus riders are encouraged to check the Bull City Connector website, TransLoc and Duke Today for updates as the May 13 project start date draws near and during the course of construction.