BENSON – Because of anticipated inclement weather, state transportation officials are postponing Thursday’s public meeting in Benson that was scheduled so people could review plans to widen Interstate 95.
Hurricane Michael, which is forecast to make landfall on the Gulf Coast on Wednesday, is expected to bring showers and windy conditions to North Carolina on Thursday. As a precaution, the N.C. Department of Transportation will reschedule Thursday’s meeting for a later date.
The meeting was to be held from 5-7 p.m. at the Hampton Inn in Benson to show design maps, answer questions and collect comments on the department’s plans to widen about 25 miles of I-95 from four lanes to eight lanes. The stretch covers from exit 56 in Cumberland County to exit 81 in Benson, where I-40 and I-95 meet.
The department recently announced it would hold two meetings for the same project – the one in Benson that has now been postponed, and another one on Oct. 18 at the Falcon Children’s Home Activity Building, 7555 North West St., in Falcon. The Falcon meeting, which also is from 5 to 7, remains as scheduled.
The projects will mark the state’s first substantial upgrade of I-95, which was built beginning in the 1950s. The sections to be widened were prioritized for construction using a scoring system that uses factors such as congestion management and traffic volume. The project received funding in the department’s State Transportation Improvement Program. The project is being partially funded by a $147 million federal program known as Infrastructure for Rebuilding America, or INFRA. The department was awarded the grant this summer to improve highways and broadband service in eastern North Carolina.