Traffic on Business 40 slowed to a crawl Thursday afternoon after chunks of concrete fell from the underside of the Silas Creek Parkway bridge onto the highway, forcing officials to close the eastbound lanes near the Silas Creek exit.

There were no injuries or damages, but highway officials took no chances: They closed Business 40 East from the ramp leading to Silas Creek and detoured traffic.

The road was closed about five hours, from about 3 to about 8. The result was a long line of cars backing all the way up to the Business 40/Interstate 40 split on the west side of Winston-Salem. The delays also affected traffic merging onto eastbound Business 40 from U.S. 421.

Thanks to a warning sign between Winston-Salem and Clemmons on I-40, most drivers stayed on I-40 and avoided the mess as state crews removed the chunks of debris that had fallen.

Crews also used lifts to inspect the underside of the bridge.

Pat Ivey, a DOT division engineer in Winston-Salem, said that the bridge is typically a safe span among the city’s highways. The bridge has been inspected at least once since 2012, he said, and no problems were reported.

“This is typically a bridge we don’t have any problems with,” Ivey said. “Our folks were immediately dispatched to see what it was, and to clean it up.”

The bridge, which was built in 1959, carries about 50,000 vehicles daily over the span, said John Rhyne, a DOT division maintenance engineer. The bridge was renovated in the late 1990s, Rhyne said.

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