GASTON COUNTY, N.C. -- Commuters who travel along I-85 will soon have a much smoother drive to work.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that starting in August, crews will begin repaving the highway from the Lowell exit in Gaston County (Exit 22) to the Mecklenburg County line.

Crews will also resurface the bridges spanning the Catawba and South Fork Rivers.

DOT's Jen Thompson said rush hour commuters will not be affected; all the work will be done overnight.

She said people traveling overnight should expect lane closures and delays. Thompson added drivers will notice a difference once the more than $12 million project is finished.

"It'll give you a smoother ride," Thompson said. "That pavement out there is probably anywhere from 20-25 years old so it has served a long life."

DOT will halt construction work for the month of December when the highway will be packed with thousands of families heading to McAdenville for its Christmas Lights festival.

The project is expected to be completed by August 2018.