The last weekend in August is the last scheduled weekend closure of Interstate 24.
Since April, the Tennessee Department of Transportation has routinely shutdown a three-mile stretch of the highway on the east side of downtown Nashville. The closures are part of a bridge repair project at Main and Woodland streets.
"Working throughout some severe heat this summer, rain and everything, those crews have done a phenomenal job to get this project done on time," TDOT spokesperson Deanna Lambert said Friday.
"By Monday morning, drivers should notice a smooth layer of asphalt, and this is what we've been waiting for all along on these bridges," she added.
The project was designed to avoid costly bridge replacement and to provide an additional 30 years of life to the interstate bridges that have not had any major repairs since being constructed in 1961.
Over the course of 13 weekends, traffic was detoured while crews removed deteriorated concrete and replaced it with 277 prefabricated concrete deck panels in what TDOT calls an "accelerated" approach to roadwork.
"This really was an innovative project from the beginning, the accelerated bridge construction concept that's used on these bridges where you build these prefabricated panels and bring them in and only close traffic for weekends instead of months on end," Lambert said.
Allowing weekend access to the interstate and underpasses at Main and Woodland streets couldn't come soon enough for employees at the Gerst Haus.
"You have to plan to come here. It's not like you see a sign and it says, 'Go to the Gerst Haus,'" said restaurant manager Kari Lacey.
The German restaurant, known for pig knuckles and weinersnitzel, is open Sunday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and sits next to the construction and detours at Woodland Street and Interstate Drive.
"We're in between the interstate and downtown. It's a one-way street in front of us, so it's been difficult to get over here from the east side," Lacey explained.
The restaurant has seen a decrease in business of more than $50,000 compared to the same time period last year.
"I've had to staff less, both in the kitchen and on the floor," said Lacey. "It's also hard to keep employees when they're not making money."
Work will continue on the I-24 bridge repair project.
TDOT is planning partial lane closures overnight Monday through Wednesday for surface work.