The installation of two bridge trusses over the Beltline Highway Wednesday night and Thursday morning, forcing the closure of the Beltline Highway, went smoothly, according to project managers.
The bridge trusses are part of the multimillion dollar Cannonball bike path meant to connect bicycle routes and help the commute across the Beltline.
A crew of about ten workers worked through the night to set trusses across the Beltline.
Outside lanes in both directions were shut down starting at 8 p.m. Wednesday between Verona Road and Fish Hatchery Road. By 10 p.m., the entire Beltline was blocked off to traffic. Work was completed before the 5 a.m. deadline to reopen the highway.
Tony Fernandez is the city engineer heading up the project. He said there was no other option but to shut down the highway, and overnight was the most practical time to do it.
"We thought long and hard before doing this, but you can't really set a 150,000-pound truss over live traffic," Fernandez said.
Fernandez said according to traffic studies, that section of the Beltline sees about 130,000 vehicles every day. At the peak of evening rush hour, about 10,400 cars drive along the stretch that will have to be shut down. By 10 p.m., those counts went down to 4,300 to 4,800 vehicles. By midnight, that number dropped to 1,100 to 1,300 cars.
Frontage roads will be closed in early September to install another set of trusses. The overpass construction is expected to finish up by early October.