The North Carolina Transportation Board awarded a $12 million contract Thursday to Rea Contracting of Charlotte to complete 5.8 miles of N.C. 16 as a four-lane highway.
The contract includes fine grading, pavement markings and signals, which include stop signs and traffic signs.
Full work on the stretch, which runs from N.C. 73 in Lincoln County to south of Lucia in Gaston County, is scheduled to be complete by October 2006.
â€œThis is part of another improvement to N.C. 16 to help improve traffic flow and infrastructure,â€ said Andrew Sawyer, spokesperson for DOT.
Sawyer said work on the new contract is scheduled to start by the end of the month.
â€œWe will be starting this spring to avoid any threat of winter,â€ he said.
Before work begins, motorists may notice preliminary signs that will be put up in the area.
Mike Holder, division engineer for the project, said that this has been a project that has been in the works for several years.
This initial project will be completed in one phase.
Greg Coffey, an active member and past president of the East Lincoln Betterment Association, is glad to see the section of N.C. 16 is almost completed.
â€œAnything that improves traffic flow is a great thing, especially in the eastern part,â€ Coffey said. â€œHighway 16 is the redheaded stepchild part of the state â€” any work that N.C. DOT can do, I support whole-heartedly.â€
Coffey, a Denver resident who commutes to Charlotte every day, usually takes the area transit bus from Denver to Charlotte.
There are some days that he has to drive though, and he said he hates the traffic.
â€œItâ€™s horrible. Anyone who drives south on 16 knows that by the time they get to work they are in a worse mood than when they left home,â€ he said. â€œIt is an exercise in patience.â€
Coffey said that once this section is completed it will be beneficial for commuters.
by Amy Wadsworth