ASHEVILLE — The N.C. Department of Transportation and State Highway Patrol have agreed to a speed limit reduction for a five-mile section of Interstate 40 in Burke County that includes two active work zones.
A new speed limit of 55 mph for eastbound and westbound traffic will be enforced starting Tuesday between mile markers 111 and 116 to increase safety for drivers and road workers in the area. The speed limit in the area was 65 mph in areas outside the work zones.
This section of I-40 includes the active work zones to build new bridges over Mineral Springs Mountain Road and Berea Church Road. The new regulation will last until construction is complete on both projects.
“The reduction of the speed limit from 65 to 55 mph, and increased enforcement from the State Highway Patrol is intended to raise awareness of those traveling through the work zone,” Division 13 Assistant Construction Engineer Nathan Moneyham said. “It is critical for drivers to slow down and be alert, especially when there are construction delays and backups.”
The speed reduction from 65 mph to 55 mph only adds 48 more seconds to this five-mile drive.
The two projects replace four bridges on this section of I-40 for a total combined cost of $20.9 million.
The project near Icard replaces the two bridges — one eastbound and the other westbound — over Berea Church Road. This $8.5 million project is scheduled to be complete in March of 2020. The project on I-40 over Mineral Springs Mountain Road, began in July of 2018 and should be completed by June of 2021 at a cost of $12.4 million.