RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A federal grant will allow NCDOT to made changes to the I-95 corridor which has remained largely unchanged since the 1950s.
“I-95 is a critical route not just for our state, but for the east coast,” said North Carolina Department of Transportation spokesman Andrew Barksdale.
It’s one of America’s main arteries, but for the last several years Interstate-95 has closed time and time again due to flooding.
“This part of the interstate was designed and built 60 years ago, and we need to build to the new normal,” said Barksdale.
The NCDOT had originally targetted portions of I-95 for a facelift in 2028, but a $22-million grant will allow them to expedite their plans for a 27-mile stretch between Lumberton and Hope Mills.
NCDOT will also work on I-95 between mile markers 13 and 40 that are vulnerable to floods.
Parts of the interstate was flooded and damaged during Hurricane Florence.
“We have a plan to rebuild our infrastructure by putting in taller bridges over rivers, bigger culverts, and we’re going to elevate the highway,” said Barksdale. “We’re going to actually bring in more dirt and raise up the grade of the interstate in these low lying areas. Our goal is to make it less susceptible to flooding.”
As the NCDOT works to finalize their construction plans, you may notice some changes along the I-95 corridor.
“You’ll see mounds of dirt being pushed around or jersey walls going up for the work zones,” said Barksdale.
The half-billion dollar project will eventually add more lanes, and widen the interstate without closing any lanes, but it doesn’t come without any headaches.
“Some of the shoulders will be narrowed, and you’ll see workers on the sides of the median,” said Barksdale. “It’s going to be a workzone for the next several years, but it is progress.”
At this time there is no definite timeline for when construction will begin.