Federal grant to help with I-85 bridge project

Posted February 17, 2010

— Plans to replace the Interstate 85 bridge over the Yadkin River got a boost Wednesday when federal officials allocated $10 million in economic stimulus funds to the project.

The 55-year-old bridge in Davidson County is one of the most traveled bridges in the state. The North Carolina Department of Transportation insists the bridge is structurally sound but say it still requires immediate attention.

The funds are part of 51 transportation projects nationwide funded by $1.5 billion in grants through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program, or TIGER.

"TIGER grants will tackle the kind of major transportation projects that have been difficult to build under other funding programs,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. “This will help us meet the 21st-century challenges of improving the environment, making our communities more livable and enhancing safety, all while creating jobs and growing the economy.”

Gov. Beverly Perdue has lobbied for $300 million in stimulus funds for the Yadkin River Bridge project for the past year. She expressed disappointment Wednesday at the size of the TIGER award.

Perdue spokeswoman Chrissy Pearson said the state Department of Transportation will now use $150 million in bonds to pay for the first phase of the project to replace or retrofit five aging bridges over the river and widen three miles of road.

Construction on that phase could begin this summer and be completed in 2013.

State transportation officials said the bridge replacement project could create 9,000 thousand jobs.

The project is the only one in North Carolina to receive TIGER funds.


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  • Capt Mercury Feb 18, 2010

    If the federal government could and would just build the darned thing like it did for Hoover Dam during the last great depression, recession, bank failure, or whatever you want to call it, it certainly would not cost 300 million dollars. But then the banks financing the project would not get a cut, nor would the contractors, sub-contractors, sub-sub-contractors, etc. They all have the federal government in their pocket, so the cost will be 300 million or it will never get done. I'd bet my bottom Euro on it!

  • Bendal1 Feb 18, 2010

    "The 'special finacing' is the key here...and I think it is similar to what the NCTA got for the Triangle Expressway.

    There's a good possibility this bridge may be tolled."

    How about "NO"?

    First off, state law prohibits a toll on an existing route.
    Second, state law prohibits tolling a route that has no free and parallel route available.
    Third, the Federal government has to approve tolls on any existing interstate.

    "Special financing" could just as easily mean the state finally guts or eliminates (or at least grants a one time exception) to the equity law, which has limited populous divisions in the state by requiring all 14 divisions must get the same amount of highway construction money.

    While they've played fast and loose with that rule lately, it's still there and as projects get more and more expensive they are running into that law more and more often.

  • boingc Feb 17, 2010

    "State transportation officials said the bridge replacement project could create 9,000 thousand jobs."

    9,000 thousand jobs -- wow, that's alot, like 9 million! Crazy math, huh!

  • aprince27 Feb 17, 2010

    Not sure if anything will happen yet...$10 million is less than 1% (in fact it's only 1/4 of a percent) of the cost needed for the project.

    The 'special finacing' is the key here...and I think it is similar to what the NCTA got for the Triangle Expressway.

    There's a good possibility this bridge may be tolled.

  • wralfan Feb 17, 2010

    this bridge needed to be replaced YEARS ago- thank the gods something will finally start happening.

    If this bridge falls before completion yet another NC travel artery will be gone for truckers and travelers only increasing the pain (and cost) for everyone.

  • aprince27 Feb 17, 2010

    There were over 1380 requests for the $1.5 billion from all states and four territories.

    Here's a blog I did on the subject in January:

  • aprince27 Feb 17, 2010


    traffic would be maintained on the old bridge during construction. The new bridge is going to be built slightly down river from the current bridge.

  • aprince27 Feb 17, 2010

    First, the project also includes widening I-85 to six or eight lanes from Spencer to just before the Business I-85 split in Lexington.

    Costs such as building additional lanes, building new modern interchanges, and tearing down the old bridge adds up. The bridge crosses more than the river...there are a number of rail tracks it will also need to cross. The bridge I think alone is $180 million the additional widening of the lanes covers the rest.

  • Nothing New Feb 17, 2010

    I agree 300 million for one bridge sounds excessive to say the least, but the creation of 9,000 jobs to build the bridge is laughable if not just an outright lie. Go back to an old saying "I may have been borned yesterday, but I stayed up all night". 9,000 job totally laughable, buy this and I have ocean beach front property in Person county for sale. Then again if you believe all the global warming, that just may happen. LOL

  • cwood3 Feb 17, 2010

    Guys, we need to remember the roads around that bridge. DOT will have to redirect traffic off of I-85 and onto Old 70 up to the next intersection, then turn left and back onto I-85(Southbound). This is a major re-route project. In addition, it's a pretty high bridge.

    This is a complex project with lots of traffic around it. I do not like the idea of Stimulus Funds coming anywhere to NC because of the strings that always accompany funding like this-the fed never just gives away money. SO -what strings are attached???? What % of the jobs must be union??? What % of the jobs must be minority?? I'll bet if more than 25 % of the workers are white men, we'll loose the funding.

    Bi-Partisan, non-racial, un-biased--right President Obama. What cool aid are you drinking??? Or is it your supporters that consumed too much kool aid?? BINGO!!