As construction on the busy Sunset Avenue continues, transportation officials are urging caution in the process.
Kenny Batchelor, a resident engineer from the North Carolina Department of Transportation, recently reported that workers are removing the curb and putting in storm drainage on the south side of N.C. 24. The work through the center of Clinton is part of an 40-mile expansion project, which serves as a connector between Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune.
“If anyone rides through there, they just need to be careful and look out for the the construction equipment,” Batchelor said about entering and leaving Clinton. “With the lane closures, people are going to be stopping to turn right. You normally have two lanes, but now you only have one. You need to be aware of the congested traffic.”
After it’s completed, the roughly $400 million project will include a four-lane highway, stretching from Cumberland County to east of Clinton, toward I-40 near Warsaw. Batchelor said crews will also widen the road with a new curb. The closure extends from Airport Road to Pierce Street. But it’s not going to stop there.
“As they progress further east, they’ll extend the lane closure on down to (701 Highway) eventually,” Batchelor said.
Work on the entire expansion started in 2013 and is slated for completion in March 2018. A completion date has not been set for the Sunset Avenue portion, but it may depend on several elements.
“It depends on the weather, how fast the contractor progress with the work and the work we’ll run into utility wise,” Batchelor said of the work being done by Fred Smith Company Construction.
In addition to work on the eastbound side, work will also be done on the westbound portion of the road.
“There’s more work to do on the westbound side than on the eastbound side,” he said.
He estimates that it may be a year or so before that portion of the work is completed. In the meantime, he stressed for motorists to be vigilant.
Motorists can expect more delays due to detours directing them off the N.C. 24 bypass. According to an electronic traffic sign just past the Sunset overpass , a closure of the N.C. 24 East ramp will begin Thursday (today).
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.