Warm weather helping I-85 project

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 4, 2011

N.C. Department of Transportation
SALISBURY — After a cold and snowy winter, springtime temperatures are helping crews ramp up construction work on replacing the Yadkin River bridge and improving Interstate 85 in Rowan and Davidson counties, state officials said.
Now that the ground has thawed, they can complete clearing work on the Davidson County side of the Yadkin River and begin to move dirt at the N.C. 150 interchange.
“Hauling dirt may not sound important, but it’s vital to moving this project forward,” said Pat Ivey, N.C. Department of Transportation Division 9 engineer. “We need to move about 40,000 truckloads of dirt to build the new I-85 bridges over the Yadkin River, and create an even foundation for the new and improved N.C. 150 interchange.”
Crews started clearing dirt and trees from the construction site along I-85 last fall. Before winter came and plummeting temperatures forced them to stop working, they had completed all clearing work on the Rowan County side of the river and 75 percent of the work on the Davidson side.
The amount of material removed totaled 65,000 cubic yards — enough to fill 20 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
With warmer weather on their side, crews are now clearing the remaining 15 acres on the Davidson side of the river. They expect to finish that process by Friday. The work will provide the space needed to realign and widen nearly 3.5 miles of I-85 from north of Long Ferry Road (Exit 81) in Rowan County to just north of the N.C. 150 interchange in Davidson County.
Softer ground is also making it easier for crews to start moving 200,000 cubic yards, or about 16,000 truckloads, of dirt at the N.C. 150 interchange.
They are hauling it from the west side of I-85 to the east side of the interstate to level out the area.
In addition, crews have started building the foundation for the new interchange in the I-85 median. Once that is complete in May, they will build the new N.C. 150 bridge over the interstate.
Workers will also bring in another 16,000 truckloads of dirt to build the embankment where the new I-85 bridges will land on the north side of the river, as well as 8,000 truckloads of dirt on the south side of the river to build up the interstate leading to the new bridges.
While all this activity is under way, NCDOT reminds motorists to use caution when traveling through the work zone.
Obey the speed limit and follow posted signs indicating changes to the traffic pattern, state officials say.
Built in two phases, the I-85 Corridor Improvement Project includes widening a total of 6.1 miles of I-85 from four lanes to eight lanes, replacing eight bridges and reconstructing the Belmont Road interchange.
The project is scheduled to be complete by May 2013. For more information, log on to www.i-85yadkinriver.com.