Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez joined North Carolina Transportation Secretary Gene Conti at the site of the $89 million I-77/I-40 Interchange to review early construction work on one of the state's largest road improvement projects.
"By building and improving highways, American workers are laying the foundation for long-term economic growth," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "The people of North Carolina expect and deserve an America built to last, and by putting people to work on projects like this, we improve the nation's infrastructure and strengthen our economy."
Workers are building a multilevel interchange in Iredell County, widening I-40 from four to six lanes, reconstructing U.S. 21, building several bridges and closing a nearby interchange on Old U.S. 64.
The project, which received $20.9 million in federal funding, includes construction of a double-crossover, or "diverging diamond," interchange, which reduces unsafe left turns among drivers and is expected to significantly cut traffic jams at one of the state's worst bottlenecks.
"Investments in projects like this strengthen economic growth and competitiveness for the entire region," said Mendez. "Improving this interchange creates jobs for North Carolina workers and will ease traffic congestion for drivers today and well into the future."
An estimated 70,000 drivers rely on this interchange every day, far more than the 5,000 that was originally projected 50 years ago. Daily traffic volume through this interchange is estimated to rise to 110,000 vehicles by 2035.
Work on the interchange, which started a few weeks ago, is slated to be completed by 2017. This is the interchange's first major repair since it was built in the early 1960s.