RALEIGH — From
atop the new I-85 Yadkin River Veterans Memorial South bridge over the Yadkin
River near Salisbury, N.C. Department of
Transportation Secretary Tony Tata today announced that the new bridge will
open to traffic for the first time late Friday, March 8. The four-lane bridge
will provide motorists with a safer, more efficient way to travel between
Charlotte and the Triad.
“We’re proud to bring the citizens of this region what
they’ve wanted for many years – a modern bridge that can easily accommodate the
60,000 vehicles that travel through the area each day,” said Secretary Tata. “By
improving critical interstate commerce routes like I-85, we can better meet Gov.
Pat McCrory’s vision to leverage our transportation assets to stimulate
economic growth and create and maintain jobs.”
Crews will begin moving traffic onto the new I-85 South
bridge, starting around 10 p.m. Friday. By 6 a.m. Saturday, March 9, all four
lanes of the bridge will be open.
The new I-85 South bridge replaces a bridge, which was
built in 1955 and no longer met the needs of today’s drivers. It was narrow and
had virtually no shoulders. When accidents occurred or vehicles broke down,
drivers had nowhere to move their cars, triggering significant traffic
congestion and making it difficult for emergency crews to respond quickly.
The new I-85 South bridge is four lanes wide – twice as wide
as the old bridge. It also has 12-foot-wide shoulders where drivers can pull
off when necessary. Based on these features, it will:
- Reduce congestion;
- Improve safety; and
- Extend the life of the local transportation
The combined impact of those benefits will foster
economic growth. It will make it easier for companies to transport their goods
to market and employees to reach their jobs on time. It will also help entice
businesses already located in the region to expand their facilities, while
encouraging new corporations to call North Carolina home.
The new I-85 South bridge is 0.55 miles long and 72 feet
wide. Crews with contractor Flatiron-Lane, a Joint Venture built it in nine
months, using 38,000 tons of concrete and 1,800 tons of reinforced steel.
The new I-85 South and North bridges are officially known
as the Yadkin River Veterans Memorial Bridge. Secretary Tata thanked the people
of Rowan and Davidson counties who petitioned for the bridge name.
“May the Yadkin River Veterans Memorial Bridge be a
lasting tribute to their sacrifice and our freedom,” Tata said.
The construction of the new I-85 bridges is part of the
I-85 Corridor Improvement Project, the state’s top mobility project. Phase one of the
project involves widening 3.3 miles of I-85 from just north of Long Ferry Road
(Exit 81) to just north of N.C. 150, reconstructing the N.C. 150 interchange
and replacing eight bridges, including the Yadkin River Bridge. Substantial
completion is set for April 15.
of the project extends the widening 3.8 miles from just north of N.C. 150 to
just north of the I-85 Business split and includes reconstructing the Belmont
Road interchange. Phase two is scheduled to be complete in late summer.
For more information about the $201.5 million project,
visit www.i-85yadkinriver.com or
follow NCDOT’s I-85 Twitter feed, http://twitter.com/ncdot_I85.