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Russell Street bridge in Fayetteville indefinitely closed following natural gas fire


A bridge on East Russell Street in downtown Fayetteville is closed for an indefinite period of time, the N.C. Dept. of Transportation said Wednesday, following a natural gas fire on Christmas Eve and Christmas day that heavily damaged the bridge and injured two people.

This is the bridge over Blounts Creek on the southwest-bound lane of East Russell Street near Old Wilmington Road, where drivers travel toward Eastern Boulevard.

“The fire bent the steel beams, caused the deck to sag and some of the concrete driving surface to flake off,” says a news release issued on Wednesday.

“We will likely have to replace the bridge, but that’s not a final determination,” DOT spokesman Andrew Barksdale said. He couldn’t provide an estimated time or cost, as the situation is still being assessed.

The northeast-bound lane of East Russell Street is unaffected.

The DOT advises southwest-bound drivers heading toward Eastern Boulevard to detour to Gillespie Street and the Martin Luther King Jr. Freeway to the MLK’s Eastern Boulevard interchange.

The Fayetteville Fire Department said the fire was reported at 11:41 p.m. on Dec. 24.

Firefighters arrived to find a large fire fueled by a broken natural gas line, the department said. They fought the fire into early Dec. 25. The department said two people at the bridge had minor burns and were taken to a hospital.

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