LUMBERTON – Construction on widening Interstate 95 through Lumberton begins this week.
A contractor for the N.C. Department of Transportation will widen the interstate to a total of eight lanes between Exit 13 (I-74 junction) and just north of mile marker 21. Construction will take four years to complete.
To prepare, crews first need to test the soil and evaluate how much subgrade material is needed where temporary pavement will be added. This testing will require overnight lane closures in both directions in the project limits this week.
Starting Sept. 19, crews will be ready to install concrete barrier in the median, which has guardrail, between exits 13-17, to create a safe work zone. This work will take about a month to complete and require overnight lane closures on I-95 North.
When the crews are finished doing that work in the northbound lanes, they will shift their attention to the southbound lanes for the next several months to do the following work under nighttime lane closures:
- Add temporary pavement to the median between exits 13-17;
- Add pavement beyond the existing 10-foot paved shoulder by also filling in what is now a ditch; and
- Relocate utilities near service roads adjacent to the interstate.
Work on the southbound lanes will continue into next year, when crews will be ready to shift the two northbound lanes onto the southbound side on a wider road. A concrete barrier will separate the two directions of travel when they are on the southbound side of the interstate.
This traffic shift next year will allow the contractor to rebuild and widen to a total of four lanes going north at a new elevation – anywhere from 3 feet to 14 feet higher than the current highway over this eight-mile stretch. For instance, the new I-95 bridges that will go over the Lumber River will be at least 10 feet higher, as the NCDOT looks to upgrade infrastructure that is more resilient against future flooding.
The lane closures will be from 7 p.m. until 6 a.m. Monday through Thursday, and could also occur on the weekends from 9 p.m. until 6 the next morning. Drivers should be aware of the reduced speed limit of 55 mph when there are lane closures, and be alert traveling through the work site at other times.
The NCDOT awarded a $432 million design-build contract last year to finalize the design, acquire the right of way and construct the project under one set of contractors. This NCDOT project page has more details.