Traffic

Pain then progress: More lanes coming on I-95 in NC

Posted June 29

— Two sections of Interstate 95 will be widened to eight lanes in the next decade, according to the updated draft of the North Carolina Department of Transportation's 10-year plan.

A chunk of the highway between Exit 22 in Lumberton and Exit 40 near Hope Mills is scheduled to be funded after 2027. Another piece of the interstate – from Exit 71 just south of Dunn to Exit 81 near Benson – is slated for construction beginning in 2026.

I-95 widening plan

Duane Fields loves the idea. He used to travel along I-95 from Florida to New York.

"If I had to do that commute again, six lanes would work," he said. "Any improvement, any widening of the interstate would be good."

That improvement won't come without a cost. In addition to the $600 million work estimate, drivers will sit in delays until the project is complete.

"Widening that much will impact traffic," said Greg Burns, an NC DOT engineer. "But long-term it would be a great improvement. As with all our projects, we put in time restrictions. We put in accommodations to handle the traffic while the construction is going on."

Betsy Brinker is one of those who will welcome the additional lanes. She lives in Eastover, just off I-95, and regularly travels the highway up to Washington, D.C., and Boston.

"I lived in Houston for 20 years and watched I-10 get expanded from two lanes to, I guess six or eight lanes," she said. "It made a huge difference, plus you can have an HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) lane."

HOV lanes are in use around D.C. to allow cars with multiple passengers quicker passage.

“Widening Interstate 95 has long been a need in North Carolina for congestion, safety and economic development,” NCDOT's Terry Hutchens said. “It is great to see portions of I-95 widening funded.”

The NCDOT will also widen the All American Freeway in Fayetteville to six lanes from Owen Drive to north Santa Fe Drive. Construction there is scheduled to begin in 2027.

In all, 14 projects were added to the NCDOT's 10-year plan for Division 6. The plan was initially scheduled to be approved by the Board of Transportation at its June meeting, but approval was delayed to allow the department to update the document to reflect the changes.

The final plan is expected to be approved by the North Carolina Board of Transportation in August.

DOT officials will take public comments on the plan from June 28 to July 12. Anyone who would like to provide comments should contact Diane Wilson at pdwilson1@ncdot.gov or call 919-707-6073.

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