It happened around 8 a.m. in the westbound lanes at mile marker 365, east of Fayetteville near Warsaw.
Another worker was hurt.
NCDOT spokesperson Greer Beaty said the workers were attempting to make a lane closure for a bridge maintenance project at NC Highway 24 when they were hit by a truck.
Patty McQuillan with the North Carolina Department of Crime Control & Public Safety said 21-year-old Jonathan King of Autryville in Sampson County was unhooking a trailer with an electronic warning sign that blinks a warning arrow on the shoulder of the highway when he was instantly killed by the tractor trailer.
Troopers say that truck driver Ernest Harris, 47, of St. Pauls in Robeson County had taken his eyes off of the road and veered right into King's Ford F-150 and trailer.
DOT worker Bradley Williams was treated and released from Sampson Regional Medical Center.
Harris was also treated for minor injuries. Investigators say he told them he took his eyes off the road to look at a paper and when he looked up, he didn't have time to stop.
Harris has been charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle, reckless driving, failing to maintain lane control, and failure to reduce speed.
The DOT has brought in counselors for family and coworkers.
This is the first time a NCDOT worker has been killed in a work zone since October 2008.