DOT awards contract for I-85 widening in Cabarrus County

The N.C. Department of Transportation has awarded the bid to widen another eight-mile stretch of Interstate 85 in Cabarrus County and says construction could begin by next spring.

The $187 million contract was awarded last week to Blythe Construction Inc. of Charlotte. The project will widen I-85 from four to eight lanes from north of N.C. 73 (Exit 55) to north of Lane Street (Exit 63) near the Cabarrus-Rowan county border.

The widening will pick up where a current, nearly completed project leaves off – widening I-85 from Bruton Smith Boulevard to N.C. 73.

DOT officials said Blythe Construction will have to get the necessary permits, but the work could begin in less than a year. Construction is scheduled to be completed by December 2017.

In addition to the widening, the project will include improvements to the interchanges at U.S. 29/601 (Exit 58), Dale Earnhardt Boulevard (Exit 60) and Lane Street (Exit 63).

In addition, the current rail crossing on Winecoff School Road in Kannapolis will be eliminated.

The DOT said this will be a design-build project, which means the design, environmental permitting, right-of-way acquisition, utility relocations and construction can take place at one time under a single contract. That saves time and money, the DOT said.