RICHMOND, Va. — Headed out of town this July 4 weekend? The North Carolina Department of Transportation is giving drivers a heads up that traffic might get bad on Interstate 85 near the Virginia state line.
That’s because four lanes of traffic there have been reduced down to two lanes for a construction project.
“For the most part, lane closures on the state’s interstates are halted over the holiday weekend, but in some cases, such as on I-85, the type of construction does not allow for all travel lanes to be open,” a NCDOT spokesperson said. “Due to work to reconstruct the northbound lanes, all traffic has been shifted onto the southbound side of I-85 in two locations, creating a two-lane, two-way traffic pattern. They can cause backups and delays because of the volume of the traffic going through the work zone.”
The construction zone are:
- Between mile markers 226 and 230 – just a few miles south of the state line
- Between mile markers 213.5 and 218.5 — 20 miles from the state line
To avoid back ups, northbound drivers can use U.S. 158, U.S. 1 and U.S. 401 to travel between exits 215 and 233, with southbound drivers heading in the opposite order.
A longer alternate route to miss the work zone altogether would be for northbound I-85 motorists to use I-85 to I-40 East in Hillsborough, then onto I-540 East and around the north side of Raleigh onto I-495/U.S. 64 East to I-95 North in Rocky Mount, and back to I-85 in Petersburg, Virginia. The alternate route would be reversed for southbound I-85 motorists coming out of Richmond.
“It may also be helpful if travelers can be on the road at non-peak travel times, when the traffic volume is lower,” the NCDOT spokesman said. “Even though work may not be occurring, drivers still need to pay extra attention in work zones, as well as slow down to the posted speed limit, not only when on I-85, but when encountering any work zone.”