Work to widen another section of Interstate 95 will begin soon, after the N.C. Department of Transportation awarded a $236.5 million contract in July.
A joint venture of Flatiron and Fred Smith Co. based in Morrisville will upgrade the interstate from north of Exit 71 near Dunn in Harnett County to the interstate’s junction with I-40 at Exit 81 in Benson. Two travel lanes will be added in each direction, bringing the total to eight lanes.
This project will modernize about 9 miles of the state’s oldest stretch of I-95 that opened circa 1959. The project entails the following:
Replace two culverts with single-structure bridges to improve the ability of water to safely flow underneath the interstate, which has flooded and closed in recent hurricanes.
Rebuild Exits 72, 73, 75 and 77 to modern standards that include taller, wider bridges, longer acceleration lanes and realigned service roads; Retain the N.C. 50 bridge at Exit 79, but construct roundabouts at the on/off ramps to improve safety and traffic flow.
Construct a new overpass that connects South Market Street, which has a dead end on the north side of the interstate, with Cub Road on the other side of the interstate. The new overpass, which will not have interstate access, will alleviate congestion, including from commercial trucks, in downtown Benson.
The public meeting maps showing the improvements can be found on the department’s webpage for this project.
The scope of work will be identical to the widening underway on I-95 from just north of Exit 55 in Cumberland County through Exit 71, which is being reconstructed south of Dunn.
This video highlights the construction happening on I-95.
Work on the new contract can begin after Aug. 30. At the start of the project, the contractor will need to conduct overnight lane closures to add temporary pavement and install concrete barriers that will be in place for much of the construction.
The contractor has until the summer of 2026 to complete the project. The widening and upgrade between exits 55-71 is scheduled to finish in the summer of 2024.