FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — The North Carolina Department of Transportation is averaging one motor vehicle crash a day in construction work zones on Interstate 95.
“I saw a few people driving where they shouldn’t have been. But once they got straightened out it was OK,” said one driver, John Hirko.
Over the weekend, a fiery tractor-trailer crash killed one person and injured another. It was the first of two crashes in just three days this week to cause a portion of the major highway to shut down.
“I just passed a four-car pileup. It was pretty bad. We had to stop pretty quickly. I was afraid some cars were going to come back from behind us,” said another I-95 driver, Wendy Makinson.
The construction is all part of a nearly $1 billion project to turn I-95 into eight lanes between Benson and Lumberton.
Some drivers are concerned about how narrow the lanes are next to construction barriers.
“When you’re going the speed limit on the interstate you don’t realize how wide everything is,” said Andrew Barksdale with the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
Barksdale said the concrete barriers are two feet from the white line on the outer lanes. That line is a half-foot wide.
The speed limit is 60 miles per hour during the day and 55 at night in the work zones. Barksdale said speeding and not paying attention to the road causes many of these accidents.
“They are looking at their phone, they are looking at the radio, and they are just inattentive, they are drifting out of their lane, and they are just making a mistake,” Barksdale said.
That’s why North Carolina Highway Patrol has stepped up patrol in those areas.
“What they say — ‘play stupid games get stupid prizes.’ So, you got to pay attention when you’re driving a car,” Hirko said.
The entire construction project on I-95 — which also includes elevating the highway to prevent flooding — isn’t expected to wrap up until the fall of 2026.