Local News

I-85 construction holds holiday delays in store

Posted November 25, 2008 5:31 p.m. EST
Updated November 26, 2008 7:57 a.m. EST

— The state Department of Transportation will suspend most highway construction projects that could affect travel over the Thanksgiving holiday – with the exception of one.

Interstate 85 in Vance County near Henderson is reduced to one lane in each direction for eight miles from mile markers 206 to 214 as crews work to finish a project there for the winter.

DOT officials are urging motorists to avoid the area, if possible, to help ease expected congestion and are offering a 43-mile detour that they say could be faster.

Motorists traveling I-85 north are encouraged to take Interstate 40 East to Interstate 540 East to U.S. Highway 64 East to Interstate 95 North.

Motorists traveling I-85 South are encouraged to take I-95 South to U.S. 64 West to I-540 West to I-40 West.

Boyd Tharrington, a DOT project engineer, says the project – the first rehabilitation of the roadway in more than 30 years – is desperately needed.

The project, which entails repairing potholes and pavement failures and laying down 11 inches of concrete, was expected to be completed by Nov. 15, but now an early-December deadline is more likely.

Tharrington said the work will continue through the Thanksgiving holiday not only to ensure it is complete for holiday travelers in December but also so that it will be ready for any winter weather.

The northbound lanes of I-85 are closed, and the southbound lanes are divided with concrete barriers, creating a lane in each direction.

Both directions of the interstate will reopen until mid-March, when work on the southbound lanes is scheduled to begin.