RALEIGH – Motorists who travel through the work zone for the I-85 upgrade project now under way in Vance and Warren counties will be encountering a series of lane shifts and ramp closures over the next several weeks.
They will start about noon on Friday, Jan. 27, when I-85 South traffic will be shifting over to the northbound side between U.S. 158 Bypass West/Dabney Drive and U.S. 1. The southbound traffic will move to the inside of the northbound side, while I-85 North traffic will shift to the outside.
The move into the two-lane, two-way pattern will allow crews to safely work on the southbound side of the highway. That shift is expected to remain in place until November.
The eastbound U.S. 158 ramp to I-85 will remain closed through November as well, while the I-85 South on ramp from Parham Road will be closed, also until November.
By the end of the month, or in early February, traffic in Warren County will undergo the same shift, with I-85 South vehicles being moved to I-85 North to share those lanes between mile markers 224 and 229.
The timing of the shifts and closures is dependent on the progress of the prep work needed to get the roadways ready, as well as weather conditions.
It is all part of a five-year, $137.3-million project that is improving the interstate between Dabney Road in Vance County and the Virginia state line. In addition to repairing the deteriorating road surface, the work calls for replacing the bridges on I-85 and improving bridges over the interstate. That includes raising the clearance on several of those bridges to create safer conditions for tractor trailers traveling underneath them along the interstate.
The improvements are needed because of the expected increase in traffic volume on this key connector highway for travelers and commercial trucking that links cities of the Mid-Atlantic and northeast United States to Greensboro, Charlotte and Atlanta. Traffic is currently at about 37,800 vehicles a day, but is expected to rise to 60,000 per day over the next 20 years.
A project this big means considerable impacts for motorists with lane and ramp closures, traffic shifts and detours continuing through the end of the project in 2020. And it’s not just the interstate that will be affected, as roads such as N.C. 39 and Satterwhite Point Road, which provides key access to Kerr Lake State Recreation Area, will have lane restrictions and closings at times.
NCDOT staff works closely with local officials, towns, schools and emergency services to make sure everyone knows when their areas will be impacted. For more information about the project, you can contact NCDOT Resident Engineer Boyd Tharrington at firstname.lastname@example.org or (919) 562-7000.