For those who still needed proof of a long-discussed N.C. 24 widening project’s status in Sampson County, engineers will be here next week, and bringing construction delays with them.
Motorists traveling on N.C. 24 west of Clinton should expect to be delayed for a bit throughout the entire week, as preliminary work on Roseboro Highway is under way leading up to a 2013 construction timetable in Sampson, according to a notification from DOT.
“The engineering firm is doing some preliminary work, coming in to do some borings,” said DOT district engineer Lin Reynolds, whose agency is not involved at this point. “It’s going to be congested for a while. There’s going to be one lane closed at a time. People are still going to be able to get by, they’ll just have to be patient.”
Engineering crews will be performing work on N.C. 24 West (Roseboro Highway) between Sept. 26-30, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. Motorists should expect delays traveling both directions between Clinton and extending west to Mitchell Loop Road for traffic control, with one of two lanes being closed at a time as sections are worked on throughout the week.
Maintenance is expected to begin 9 a.m. Monday, Sept. 26, and go through 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30.
“We wanted to do it that way so it would impact the least amount of people,” Reynolds noted. “That way they can get there after school lets in and finish before it gets out.”
The overall N.C. 24 widening project proposes a four-lane roadway stretching for 40 miles from Cumberland County to Interstate 40 near Warsaw, divided by a median, with interchanges constructed at major crossroads. In Sampson, smaller municipalities will be bypassed from the west before returning to the existing roadbed east of Bonnetsville to Coharie Drive. From Coharie Drive to Faircloth Freeway, the existing roadbed will be used.
Specifically, Segment A extends from west of Maxwell Road/Clinton Road in Cumberland County to John Nunnery Road in Cumberland. Segment B starts at John Nunnery and goes to Dowdy Road in Sampson. Segment C extends from there to Mitchell Loop Road, and Segment D includes the section from Mitchell Loop Road along Sunset Avenue to the U.S. 421/701 Bypass (Faircloth Freeway). Two other segments, extending from Sunset Avenue to I-40 in Duplin, are not being funded at this point.
Earlier this year, high-ranking DOT officials assured the Sampson County Board of Commissioners that residents would be contacted concerning right of way acquisition during the spring and into summer. That has happened, evidence of the project’s arrival.
“They’re already buying the right of way,” said Reynolds.”When that starts happening, it goes pretty quick. They’ve already contacted a lot of people from the county line in. Once they start that process of purchasing right of way, it’s on its way.”
While talked about for decades, the N.C. 24 project officially dates back to the 1989 Highway Trust Fund law, which identified specific highways that would be four-laned or improved in order to complete a 3,600-mile intrastate system. It stands as the last of the 1989 projects to be built.
“They’re talking about starting in 2013,” said Reynolds. “That’s a little over a year away, which means in about a year and a half, they’ll be breaking ground. We’re looking forward to it.”
Captain Westbrook Road, previously unpaved, will start receiving asphalt in a matter of weeks.
DOT crews are nearly finished with the initial work and are getting ready to pave the road “within a couple weeks.”
Another ongoing project, the widening at Butler Island Road, will also take around three to four weeks. Property owners in the area have previously raised concerns of the high volume of traffic that will come with the addition of Roseboro Elementary School, and the adverse effects it will have on the narrow roadway. DOT officials concurred that traffic volume will significantly increase with buses and faculty and parent vehicles, with the average daily traffic of 1,500 expected to double.
Widening, resurfacing and draining improvements on the three miles of Butler Island Road, from N.C. 242 to the Cumberland County line, is necessary to ensure safety, DOT officials noted. While widening will be finished, paving will likely have to wait until funding is in place next year. The total cost of the Butler Island project is close to $550,000.
“In the spring, we’ll pave and resurface it,” said Reynolds.
Other resurfacing projects are on tap for Pine Ridge Road (8 to 9 miles) and Needmore Road/Union School Road, from Turkey to Ingold (15-17 miles). As far as the DOT’s paving preservation program, a 10-year cycle to make it around to all roads in the county, Reynolds said hot mix resurfacing contracts (for the most-traveled roadways) will go to bid in the next month.
“We hope to pave this fall and finish in the spring,” said Reynolds.
Lesser-traveled roadways, which receive stone paving, has run out of funding for the year. The 10-year resurfacing cycle is currently in the Garland and Harrells area, but has stopped for now. “We didn’t have money to do it,” he said. “We’ll start again next summer.”
DOT had to re-do some stone resurfacing work this year in the southern end due to equipment malfunctions last year, which contributed in part to funds running out, a situation that was further compounded by a dwindled budget. “The budget was a little bit overspent last year,” said Reynolds. “We’re just trying to balance the books.”
Reynolds said it was important to do the job right and, although he hasn’t received any feedback from those citizens, he gave the job his own seal of approval.
“I haven’t heard anything either way (negative or positive),” said Reynolds. “It looks really good now. I’ve ridden it. There’s very little loose rocks. I hope residents down there are happy with it.”
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.