North Carolina Construction News staff writer
The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) recently awarded a $187 million contract to Blythe Construction Inc. to widen about 8 miles of I-85 from four lanes to eight lanes from north of N.C. 73 (Exit 55) to north of Lane Street (Exit 63) in Cabarrus and Rowan counties.
The project will complete the interstate’s expansion through Cabarrus County, providing a greater level of service for local and through traffic. It will include improvements at the interchanges with U.S. 29/601 (Exit 58), Dale Earnhardt Boulevard (Exit 60) and Lane Street (Exit 63). The existing at-grade rail crossing on Winecoff School Road in Kannapolis will also be eliminated. Before construction can start next spring, the contractor needs to secure the required permits.
The project is scheduled to be completed in December 2017.
The I-85 widening project is a design-build project, which allows its design, environmental permitting, right-of-way acquisition, utility relocation and construction to take place at the same time under one contract. This method reduces overall construction time, helps the department avoid cost inflation, allows the contractor to make innovations that save taxpayers money, lessens environmental impact and alleviates driving delays for motorists.