RALEIGH -Crews are making good progress paving the new, wider section of I-85 North near the Yadkin River in Rowan County. They have laid down asphalt and concrete on one mile of the new roadway since they started paving work in late September. It took many steps to reach this point -all of which will help create a strong, long lasting road to better serve North Carolina drivers.
"Building this new portion of I-85 involves much more than just paving the road," said N.C. Department of Transportation Division 9 Engineer Pat Ivey. "We're incorporating scientific techniques and important engineering practices to help the road withstand harsh weather and support the high volume of truck traffic that relies on I-85 to get goods to market."
Phase one of the I-85 Corridor Improvement Project will widen 3.3 miles of the interstate from two lanes to four lanes in each direction from Exit 81 (Long Ferry Road) in Rowan County to just north of the N.C. 150 interchange in Davidson County. It will also straighten out the road's curve just before the Yadkin River. The I-85 North lanes along this section are scheduled to be complete by May 2012, so NCDOT can open to traffic the new I-85 North bridge over the river. The I-85 South lanes are set to be complete by November 2012.
To build the road bed, crews have moved 960,975 cubic yards of dirt to date, which is the equivalent of 2,988 Olympic-sized swimming pools. They then meticulously graded the soil to match the specifications required by project engineers.
Crews also added lime and cement to the dirt to firm up the road bed and help it better support the more than 60,000 vehicles that will travel on the road each day. In addition, they put gravel on top of the dirt to allow water to drain, so the road can better withstand freezing temperatures and avoid cracking.
The new I-85 will accomplish Gov. Bev Perdue's goals of providing efficient and reliable access to jobs and education. The improved road will also help stimulate the economy by making it easier and safer for companies to move goods and people across the state.
For more information on how the I-85 Corridor Improvement Project is progressing, visit www.i-85yadkinriver.com or follow NCDOT's I-85 Twitter feed at https://twitter.com/NCDOT_I85.