Asheville - Recent construction improved safety between Asheville and Tennessee on Interstate 40.
Work began Monday on a different stretch of I-40 in Haywood County will also improve safety as well as comfort for motorists.
The N.C. Department of Transportation is beginning a two-year project to improve the surface and bridges on a seven-mile stretch of I-40 between Exit 20 and Exit 27. Exit 20 is the exit for U.S. 276, and exit 27 leads to U.S. 74 and marks the beginning of the Great Smoky Mountain Expressway.
Crews will be working at night with one lane closed in each direction from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. when all lanes will be re-opened for daytime traffic. Starting on Friday, Sept. 30, Harrison Construction Company of Knoxville will set up lane closures during the day with an option to work nights as well. There will be no permanent lane closures in 2016.
Crews will begin with pavement work throughout the remainder of 2016 or until asphalt plants close down for the winter. They will be milling out asphalt, then paving it back in both directions, adding 1 1/2 inch over all lanes and the shoulder. Upgrades to the bridges and their sub-structures are expected to begin in the spring of 2017.
Road improvement work like this is currently underway across the state as part of Governor McCrory's 25-Year Vision for Transportation in North Carolina to enhance travel safety and to better connect North Carolinians to jobs, education, healthcare and recreation opportunities.
All of the work in the contract will provide North Carolina residents and visitors with a safer and smoother ride on I-40. Spots where the pavement is cracked or potholes have appeared will be fixed on the $16.8 million project, and all six bridges will be modernized from bottom to top.
The speed limit will be dropped to 55 miles per hour through the work zone and will be monitored by police and the Highway Patrol. Transportation officials urge drivers to use caution while driving, remain alert at all times and obey signs as well as the "Move Over Law," in which motorists are required to move over one lane, if possible, for stopped emergency vehicles with flashing lights including public service vehicles with amber lights.
For real-time travel information, visit the Traveler Services section of NCDOT.gov or follow NCDOT on Twitter.