RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Police shut down a highway briefly to remove and destroy a Civil War-era artillery shell found at a construction site, authorities said.

Construction workers digging in the Main Street Plaza beneath an Interstate 95 overpass discovered the shell around 4:45 p.m. Tuesday, Richmond Police said in a news release. The Richmond Police Bomb Squad could not determine by looking at it if it was active, so police closed down I-95 and the Downtown Expressway for about 20 minutes around 8 p.m. to destroy the device, police said.

No surrounding buildings were evacuated.

The bomb squad blew up the shell, causing a loud boom that set off car alarms and sent dirt and pieces of intravenous bags that had been placed around the shell to absorb the blast flying through the air.

Richmond served as the Confederate capital during the American Civil War which took place from 1861-1865.

Copyright 2006 Canadian Press