LUMBERTON, N.C. (WBTW) — The N.C. Department of Transportation has recently approved a $432 million contract that will widen I-95 through Lumberton.
This project includes widening the four-lane interstate into eight lanes (four lanes in each direction) between Exit 13 and just north of mile marker 21, and replacing bridges with taller, wider and longer spans at Exits 17, 19 and 20.
This comes after a study that started in 2009. Andrew Barksdale, NCDOT Spokesperson, said this will make the interstate safer, less congested and more resilient to future storms.
Channing Jones, Executive Director, Robeson County Economic Development, said that this will benefit jobs and the safety of this community.
“Directly behind you we have about 59,000 vehicles that cross I-95,” Jones said. “What the project will do specifically from the net jobs that will come from the construction but more importantly for the future development of 95 it creates an amazing opportunity for economic activity throughout Robeson County,” Jones continued.
Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Hurricane Florence in 2018 forced closures for days on I-95. Barksdale said NCDOT officials hope that this project will make it to where this doesn’t happen again.
“I-95 at the Lumber River in Lumberton closed at one time maybe a week at least because of flooding. Storms are more intense. We have more data on hydrology so when we modernize this interstate with the extra lanes, we’re going to lift it up. We’re going to raise it up on higher bridges over the Lumber River,” Barksdale said.
This project won’t begin until Summer 2022 and is expected to be completed in 2026. For more information visit the NCDOT website.