Recast I-95 expansion meeting set for tonight

Informal meeting will give public a preview

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After a delay caused by Hurricane Michael, Benson area residents will get their chance to see the proposed widening of Interstate 95 and how it will affect the Johnston County community.

According to officials at the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the meeting is set for tonight from 5 to 7 at the Hampton Inn, 100 Water Place Landing, which is just off I-95 in Benson.

During the meeting, NCDOT engineers and other officials related to the project will be on hand to address any questions or concerns from residents.

Officials will have design maps showing the entire project from just outside Fayetteville at Exit 58 to Exit 81 at Interstate 40.

Residents can access those same maps online at https://www.ncdot.gov/news/public-meetings/Pages/I-5986-2018-10-11.aspx. One map of particular interest to Benson residents will be Map Sheet 16, which shows details of the planned work at Exit 81.

NCDOT plans to widen approximately 25 miles of I-95 from four to eight lanes. Plans also call for upgrades to interchanges, the widening and raising of most bridges along the project’s path and the realignment of service roads as necessary. The project is slated to be the state’s first substantial upgrade of I-95, which was built in the 1950s.

According to NCDOT spokesman Andrew Barksdale, several factors were involved in choosing the stretch of roadway for the project.

“The sections to be widened were prioritized for construction using a scoring system that uses factors such as congestion management and traffic volume,” he said. “The project received funding from the department’s State Transportation Improvement Program.”

Additional funding for the project, an estimated $147 million, is being provided by a federal grant program known as Infrastructure for Rebuilding America. NCDOT was awarded the grant this summer to improve highways and broadband service in Eastern North Carolina.

As part of the project, comments from residents will be accepted both at tonight’s meeting and by other means.

Because of the delay in the meeting due to the storm, the comment period has been extended until Nov. 23.

For more information or to send comments on the project, contact NCDOT Project Manager Scott Pridgen at Division 6 at 910-364-0603, via email at gspridgen@ncdot.gov or by mail at P.O. Box 1150, Fayetteville, N.C. 28302.

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