Major Highway Projects Continue to Move Ahead
Three road improvement projects, totaling an estimated $44.7 million, will bring dramatic changes when they are completed in a few years.
The N.C. 211 widening is scheduled for bid opening next year, according to Tim Johnson, Division 8 engineer with the N.C. Department of Transportation.
This $30 million project is still in the right-of-way acquisition stage but is on track for construction to begin in 2011. The improvement calls for widening seven miles from West End to the Pinehurst Traffic Circle.
Two other projects, in Southern Pines and Aberdeen, are scheduled for bid opening in 2012. They too are in the right-of-way acquisition stage.
“It will be a straight shot,” Johnson said of the Morganton Road-Saunders Boulevard realignment in Southern Pines.
The change is designed to eliminate a traffic bottleneck in the area where the road from Morganton Road to U.S. 1 merges near the Murray Hill Road intersection. This $5.7 million project will mean a bridge replacement and elimination of one traffic signal light on U.S. 1 (Saunders Boulevard).
Traffic jams at the U.S. 15-501 bridge as it merges into U.S. 1 in Aberdeen should be eased when this project is completed. It should also enhance safety at an intersection that sometimes traps tractor-trailer rigs whose drivers are attempting to make sharp right turns from U.S. 1 from the south onto U.S. 15-501 at the bridge.
“It will be a more traditional turn there,” Johnson said. “It’s tight there now, a weird configuration for tractor-trailer trucks.”
Johnson said the turn will still mean a climb but won’t be as sharp. The elevation must remain high to provide clearance above the railroad tracks running beneath that bridge.
The $9 million project will involve a bridge replacement, a widening of the bridge and realignment of the intersection.
However, both projects will not reach the construction stage for at least two years.
The N.C. 211 widening will begin earlier, although right-of-way acquisition is not quite complete, the engineer reported.
Johnson said the widening will be less noticeable in that section of the road running from the FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital complex to the Traffic Circle, because that section already has three lanes. There will be some widening, but the most obvious changes will be seen at the intersections to two main hospital entrances.
The signals will be upgraded at both the main hospital entrance and at the street to the emergency room.
“There will be a little bit of widening there and some modernization,” he said.
Johnson said a directional cross-over and a concrete island will be added at the emergency room street.
State Rep. Jamie Boles asked Johnson for an update on the three projects Thursday during the question and answer period at the elected officials forum held by the Moore County Board of Commissioners.
A report on the comprehensive transportation plan process was presented by NCDOT personnel as the highlight of the forum.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at email@example.com.
More like this story