WJTV News Channel 12 - Portion of Cary Pkwy set to reopen after culvert fire

Portion of Cary Pkwy set to reopen after culvert fire

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CARY, N.C. -

A portion of Cary Parkway is set to reopen this weekend after being closed for nearly two weeks after a teen set fire to a culvert.

Eastbound lanes of Cary Parkway between Two Creeks Road/Kilarney Road and Lake Pine Drive are expected to re-open Sunday evening. The westbound lanes will remain closed until late next week.

The road has been closed since April 1 for an emergency repair project to replace a fire-damaged culvert under the roadway.

Tristan Zammit, 17, of Cary, is charged with a Class 2 Misdemeanor: Intentionally Setting Fire to Grass, Brush lands, or Woodlands in the case of the March 21 fire.

The fire caused damage to a 12-by-8 foot culvert that will require 100 feet of pipe to be replaced. The repairs will include tearing up the pavement, replacing the damaged pipe and repaving.

Zammit admitted to starting the fire, police said. If convicted, Zammit faces up to 60 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

A probable cause affidavit released last week indicates the suspect melted a portion of the culvert's protective layer of bituminous -- more commonly known as asphalt -- coating and reapplied it to the outside of the pipe to spell the name "TRISTAN."

"A direct result of the sustained heat source to the bituminous coating could have been a vapor which produced a flame," the affidavit says. "This flame could have been the origin of the fire within the culvert pipe and surrounding grass, woods and brush."

Investigators say Zammit texted a friend the day after the fire to show them what he had done to the culvert.

The N.C. Department of Transportation awarded Connecticut-based Lane Construction a contract to make repairs to the parkway.

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