Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 7, 2013

The new Interstate 85 South bridge over the Yadkin River will be open to traffic for the weekend, the state’s top transportation official announced today.

Crews will start shifting traffic Friday night, N.C. Transportation Secretary Tony Tata said at a news conference on the southbound span linking Rowan and Davidson counties.

The state opened the new northbound bridge last May and later shifted southbound traffic to two of its four lanes while contractors completed the second span.

The new bridges replace the 57-year-old Yadkin River Bridge, which AAA Carolinas consistently named one of the state’s worst in recent years. They are part of a $201.5 million project to realign and widen 7 miles of the interstate in Rowan and Davidson counties and replace a number of bridges along the route.

The old bridges are being demolished.

Tata said the new bridges and road widening will benefit more than drivers.

“This roadway goes a long way toward keeping jobs and attracting jobs to North Carolina,” Tata said.