The N.C. Department of Transportation has received final approval of the Environmental Assessment for improvements along Interstate 95 in North Carolina. The EA is part of the I-95 Corridor Planning and Finance Study, which began in 2009 and focuses on improving the safety, connectivity and efficiency of all 182 miles of I-95 through North Carolina.
The following recommendations have been made in the EA:
• Widen I-95 to eight lanes (four lanes in each direction) from exit 31 to exit 81;
• Widen the remaining sections of I-95 to six lanes (three lanes in each direction);
• Make necessary repairs to pavement;
• Raise and rebuild bridges;
• Improve interchanges; and
• Bring I-95 up to current safety standards for interstates.
The total cost for making these improvements is $4.4 billion. Current funding only covers about 10 percent of the costs of these improvements. In order to cover the cost of the improvements, the EA recommends tolling the interstate.
Should the department be granted permission from the Federal Highway Administration to toll the road, NCDOT is preparing a phasing plan for improvements. Phase 1, which includes widening I-95 between exit 31 and exit 81, would begin in 2016. Construction on the remainder of the corridor is proposed to begin in 2019.
The completed EA, including all of the department’s study information to date, is available for viewing online and at various locations along the I-95 corridor. To view the study or find a location, visit www.driving95.com.
Several public hearings will take place regarding the project beginning Feb. 7 and ending Feb. 27. Project data will be presented, and NCDOT staff will be on hand to answer any questions. For information on meetings near you, visit www.driving95.com.