HIGH POINT — A pair of major local N.C. Department of Transportation projects put on hold more than a year ago at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic are back in the pipeline for construction.

In the spring of 2020, the DOT delayed the schedule for replacing aging bridges along Interstate 85 Business, also known as U.S. 29-70, at S. Main Street, and for the widening of Johnson Street and Sandy Ridge Road in northwest High Point. The local projects and others across the state were put on hold over fears about the pandemic’s economic impact on state revenues.

But North Carolina government leaders now enjoy a budget surplus of several billion dollars. So DOT officials feel fiscally comfortable proceeding with the two local projects.

Work on the I-85 Business interchange with S. Main Street is currently scheduled to begin in February and has an estimated completion date of 2024, DOT public relations officer Aaron Moody said. Right-of-way acquisition is underway.

The estimated construction cost is $12.4 million.

“The project focuses on making this interchange safer, replacing the existing exit loops and ramps that feature sharp, tight curves with a conventional diamond interchange built to current design standards,” Moody said. “The new design eliminates loops, adds traffic signals and extends acceleration and deceleration lanes to make it safer and easier for drivers to get on and off the highway.”

The existing bridges at the interchange date from the original development of the interstate highway system in the 1950s.

As part of the project, S. Main Street will be widened in the vicinity of the interchange to accommodate turn lanes and sidewalks, Moody told The High Point Enterprise.

The widening of 4.4 miles of Johnson Street and Sandy Ridge Road from Skeet Club Road to south of Interstate 40 from two lanes to four lanes is currently scheduled to begin in late 2023 or early 2024 and is slated for completion in 2026. The current estimated construction cost is $45.7 million.

The project also involves bike lanes, a multiuse path and sidewalks and will include installing a traffic signal along Sandy Ridge Road at the entrance and exit to the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market.

The project is still in the planning and design phase, Moody said.

pjohnson@hpenews.com | 336-888-3528 | @HPEpaul