I-85 project all but done
Motorists who have had to dodge the familiar orange-and-white road construction barrels for three years during work on the new Interstate 85 Yadkin River bridge soon won’t have to worry about delays and detours.
Crews that built the new pair of four-lane bridges, which are open, and are widening several miles of I-85 should open all lanes to traffic around or shortly after Labor Day, said Amanda Perry, a communications officer with the N.C. Department of Transportation out of Raleigh.
“The remaining work consists of pavement repairs, final signage and pavement marking, miscellaneous punch list items and general cleanup,” Perry told The High Point Enterprise.
Once lanes are open to traffic, crews will remain on site through part of September completing final tasks that shouldn’t affect the travel of motorists. The final completion of the I-85 Corridor Improvement Project, meaning when all work crews clear the site, should take place prior to Oct. 1, Perry said.
The centerpiece of the $201.5 million project involved replacing the outdated set of bridges along I-85 at the Yadkin River. The bridges that were replaced dated from the 1950s and the onset of the interstate highway system.
The former bridges, which were each two lanes, were replaced by spans with four lanes and an emergency lane in case of accidents. The old northbound and southbound bridges didn’t have an emergency lane, meaning that wrecks would tie up traffic for miles on the heavily traveled interstate.
The I-85 Corridor Improvement Project also involves the remaining work that crews are completing to widen sections of the highway on both sides of the bridge. The work has included widening approximately 4 miles of I-85 from four to eight lanes in northern Rowan and southern Davidson counties.
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Quick facts about Interstate 85
Interstate 85 through North Carolina is the most traveled route for motorists between Richmond, Va., and Atlanta.
The section of I-85 at the Yadkin River carries about 70,000 vehicles per day, one of the highest traffic counts for a roadway in the state. By the year 2030, daily traffic counts are expected to more than double to 144,000.
The original Yadkin River I-85 bridge that was replaced was opened in 1955. The I-85 bridge over the
Yadkin River is the only interstate crossing of the river between Charlotte and the Triad.
Commercial tractor-trailers represent about a quarter of the traffic on I-85 in the Yadkin River basin.
Source: N.C. Department of Transportation