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Bridge Work to Disrupt I-89 Exit 17

Lebanon — If you’re traveling south on Interstate 89 this summer and want to get off at exit 17 toward Enfield, make your decision early: Starting as soon as this morning, the high-speed lane will be rerouted over to the northbound shoulder, funneling drivers past that exit.

Motorists in the travel lane will be able to get off at the exit.

The lane shift will allow workers from the state Department of Transportation to perform work on the deck of the bridge going over the Northern Rail Trail.

“People will (understand) it after they go through, but if you’re in the high speed lane and you wanted to exit, you’d have to go around to the next exit and turn back,” said NHDOT’s Peter Kehoe, who is overseeing the project.

“It’s not really a problem if somebody’s in the wrong lane, they’ll lose five minutes of their day,” he added later. “We just want to get the word out so people aren’t changing their mind in the last minute or doing something radical.”

The high-speed and travel lanes will split roughly a mile north of exit 17 on a part of the Interstate that curves to the right. Drivers will be alerted to the lane shift by orange signs, Kehoe said.

Drivers traveling south will be separated from northbound motorists by concrete barriers, which workers were installing yesterday. There will continue to be two northbound lanes of traffic.

The exact date and time of the rerouting will depend on the weather, Kehoe said. If it’s too rainy today to re-stripe the roads, workers will postpone the rerouting until tomorrow.

If the road hasn’t been rerouted by when afternoon traffic picks up around 3 p.m. tomorrow, then the process will be delayed again until the weekend or later.

The rerouting will last through the project’s completion, which is scheduled for the fall.

“We have to maintain two lanes of traffic (during construction), otherwise you’re going to have a traffic jam every single day in the afternoon,” Kehoe said. That stretch of the interstate often gets “congested,” he said, adding that the geometrics “aren’t that great.”

The $11.9 million project along four miles of the interstate also includes work on the bridges that carry the Interstate over Route 4 and the Mascoma River, Kehoe said, as well as other general maintenance such as replacing guardrails and pavement rehabilitation.

No additional lane shifts are expected.

The work is being completed by general contractor Pike Industries, Inc., of Belmont, N.H.

Kehoe also oversaw construction on Interstate 89 over Route 12A last summer, workers added two lanes to 12A and constructed bridges connecting the Upper Valley shopping plaza with the Kmart shopping plaza.

Maggie Cassidy can be reached at mcassidy@vnews.com or 603-727-3220.