SMITHFIELD — In September, repair work began on a longstanding bridge in Smithfield.
Since the project began, drivers have had to make adjustments taking alternate routes but it has not been as simple as drivers originally thought. News travels fast in the small town of Smithfield but these days something that's not as fast is the flow of traffic.
"It's been an inconvenience at the present time but if you look in the future it's going to be a blessing for the town of Smithfield," said lifelong resident and driver Billy Wiggs.
The Market Street Bridge over Neuse River has been in the town for 90 years. The bridge shut down for repairs in September.
“I think the newness of a detour was difficult to deal with however, I think the traffic patterns have stabilized, I think commuters are finding the best route for them to take,” said Town Manager Paul Sabiston.
Sabiston said about 25,000 cars use the bridge. Drivers have endured longer commutes by about 15 minutes but some drivers like Wiggs are taking advantage of the added time.
“It's a good way to look at mother nature a little bit better,” said Sabiston.
NC DOT has adjusted traffic lights and added more signs to direct motorists. Sabiston said more work is on the way.
The entire project could take up to eight months to complete.
“There's some strong incentives to finish before that eight month period, we hope they'll finish closer to the six month time frame because there are some incentives there,” said Sabiston.
If drivers have concerns about the project, they can call the town office at 919-934-2116.