LUMBERTON — Work on a multi-million dollar project to replace the bridge on U.S. 301 over Interstate 95 will begin next month, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
A $12.6 million contract awarded to Devere Construction Co. of Alpena, Mich., includes replacing the existing bridge with a diverging diamond interchange over I-95, which will allow two directions of traffic to temporarily cross to the left side of the road.
The new interchange, set to be completed by November 2014, will allow traffic to crisscross over the interstate, eliminating the need for risky left-hand turns when exiting onto or off of I-95, according to Joe Bailey, the state Department of Transportation’s resident engineer in Lumberton.
Construction will begin with building a second overpass beside the existing one. Tackling one bridge at a time will allow traffic to continue without interruption, Bailey said.
“We’ll detour traffic up the ramp, then back down the ramp,” he said. “This will be done late at night, so the interstate itself will be detoured along the ramps.”
At least one of the bridges will remain open during construction, but traffic on the interstate may be closed during nighttime hours and until noon on some days, Bailey said.
Chuck Miller, district engineer for DOT, said the reconstruction will help fix a “capacity issue.”
“It will make it wider and it will be able to handle more traffic,” he said. “There are times where traffic bottlenecks on that bridge. It’ll basically make the traffic flow a lot better.”
According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the contract was awarded to the lowest bidder, as required by state law. U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre announced on July 30 that $3,341,000 had been set aside in federal funds for the project.