The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) is working on a project that will widen about 25 miles of I-95 to eight lanes between I-95 Business/U.S. 301 (Exit 56) in Cumberland County and I 40 (Exit 81) in Johnston County, which also will encompass all of I-95’s length in Harnett County.
This 25-mile section is the oldest and most-used portion of I-95 in the state. It was the first segment of the interstate built in North Carolina in the late 1950s. As such, it was not built for the large traffic volume it experiences today. Currently, it reaches nearly 60,000 vehicles a day in southern Johnston County, as it serves sectors across the board, including but not limited to commerce, residential populations, tourism, military, schools, and medical centers.
As such, the purpose of this project is to reduce congestion and decrease traffic jams. It will also allow for the inevitable future growth in traffic volumes.
As part of this project, NCDOT will also rebuild at least six interchanges. This will include adding higher overpasses, wider paved shoulders, newer loops, and longer ramps that meet modern standards. Overall, 11 bridges are going to be replaced, including I-95 over the Black River. Additionally, a new ramp will connect I-95 North to NC-295 South. Service roads will also be realigned.
This project is partially funded by a $147 million federal Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant.
The widening of I-95 has been broken into two sections for construction. The southern section is between I-95 Business/U.S. 301 (Exit 56) in Cumberland County and Long Branch Road (Exit 71) in Harnett County. The northern section runs from exit 71 to exit 81 (the I-40 interchange). Construction on both segments is estimated to take about four years to complete.
Officials say that four travel lanes will continue to operate during this project, with only brief overnight closures.