WJTV News Channel 12 - Traffic once again moving on Cary Pkwy. following culvert fire

Traffic once again moving on Cary Pkwy. following culvert fire

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CARY, N.C. -

The westbound and eastbound lanes of Cary Parkway are once again open after a culvert fire forced the road's closure while crews made emergency repairs.

The town re-opened the westbound lanes of Cary Parkway Thursday afternoon. The eastbound lanes re-opened on Saturday.

The town says the inside lane remained closed to allow crews to work on the median.

Cary Parkway 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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