When the economy fell into its gravest challenge since the Great Depression, construction workers were hit hard. That’s one of the reasons President Obama pushed so hard for the transportation provisions in the Recovery Act. He knew that putting men and women to work repairing and modernizing America’s transportation infrastructure would be a smart investment, and he was right.
Our Federal Highway Administrator, Victor Mendez, saw an example of this firsthand today when he visited the construction site of the I-40/I-77 Interchange Rebuilding Project in North Carolina.
In one of the state’s largest road improvement projects, workers are building a multi-level 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 $89 million project received $20.9 million in funding from the Obama Administration. That investment will go a long way toward smoothing the traffic flow of the 70,000 drivers who rely on this interchange every day and the 110,000 daily drivers estimated by 2035. When the current interchange was built 50 years ago, only 5,000 vehicles traveled through the area each day.
eyond easing congestion, the new interchange will employ an innovative Diverging Diamond design to increase safety on one of the state’s busiest interchanges. Currently, the merge lanes are shorter than some drivers can manage, and the traffic flow requires a dangerous left turn; the diverging diamond approach —the second to be applied in North Carolina— will eliminate both problems and is expected to help reduce fatalities.
Eliminating a major bottleneck and increasing safety–when you add to that the 180 jobs that the contractor, Zachry Construction, estimates will be created by this key project, we’re talking about a big win for motorists, passengers, truck drivers and construction workers in the Tar Heel State.
The people of North Carolina expect and deserve an America built to last; this Administration is making it happen.