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Accelerated strategy yields early finish to I-40 bridge work in Haywood County

Thanksgiving travel will flow more easily now along Interstate 40 in Haywood County since work five sets of bridges on a seven-mile stretch has been completed early. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Thanksgiving travel will flow more easily now along Interstate 40 in Haywood County. The NCDOT says thanks to an accelerated strategy, it's finished improving five sets of bridges on a seven-mile stretch.

Crews repaved them, replaced or upgraded guardrails and applied new pavement markings between mile markers 20 and 27. The standard contract allowed two years for completion. But traffic backups led to complaints about congestion and a fast track plan between the DOT and contractor Apac/Harrison.

“I remember before you couldn't even get through down here. I mean it stopped bumper to bumper to bumper,” says Renee Willett.

Working at night led to completion in a little more than a year, 10 months ahead of schedule.

“It's done in time for Thanksgiving travel, Christmas travel, New Year's Day travel,” and beyond, says DOT spokesman David Uchiyama.

Uchiyama says the DOT will apply the accelerated plan to other projects.

“We have gone through and projects that are already on the list to get done, we have moved several of them up by years,” says Uchiyama. “We'll be able to choose them selectively based on the contract, where's it's located, and the manpower available to accelerate those contracts and get them done early. It's a trend that we would like to continue.”

Getting the work done early earned the contractor a $400,000 bonus.

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