The N.C. Department of Transportation awarded Blythe Construction the $187 million bid to widen an eight-mile stretch of Interstate 85 in Cabarrus County, beginning in spring of 2015. The project involved widening 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.
In addition to the widening, the project included improvements to the interchanges at U.S. 29/601 (Exit 58), Dale Earnhardt Boulevard (Exit 60) and Lane Street (Exit 63). The rail crossing on Winecoff School Road in Kannapolis was also eliminated as part of the contract.
The project was an early example of the design-build model, combining the design, environmental permitting, right-of-way acquisition, utility relocations and construction into a single contract, which reduces project cost and duration.