Purdue announces I-85 contract

North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue announced that a major transportation project on Interstate 85 came in at half the anticipated cost and is expected to be finished five months early.

The N.C. Department of Transportation has awarded a contract for the second phase of the Interstate 85 Corridor Improvement Project in Davidson County. The $65.5 million project will widen 3.8 miles of the interstate to eight lanes and update the Belmont Road interchange, which will make travel and commerce more efficient while creating new jobs for North Carolinians.

This is the first project funded by Gov. Perdue’s Mobility Fund. Phase two exemplifies the type of greatly needed transportation projects of regional or statewide significance that the Mobility Fund will make a reality.

“Without the Mobility Fund, we would not have the money needed to pay for this critically important project,” Gov. Perdue said. “Phase two will make this heavily used stretch of I-85 last longer while helping people and goods more easily reach their destinations.”

The low bid came in at half the cost of the original project estimates of $120-$130 million. The remaining funds will be used for future Mobility Fund projects across the state.

NCDOT awarded the contract for phase two to Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Inc./Austin Bridge and Road LP, A Joint Venture of Irving, Texas. The joint-venture team estimates that the project will create or sustain about 150 jobs. Many of those workers will be hired locally.

The contractor is scheduled to complete phase two by May 2013, five months earlier than NCDOT required. Phase one is set to wrap up in January 2013, which means all construction along I-85 in Davidson and Rowan counties will be finished by spring 2013.