11/07/12 — Road plans move ahead

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Road plans move ahead

By Steve Herring
Published in News on November 7, 2012 1:46 PM

The timetable for starting an estimated $2.3 million project to widen North Berkeley Boulevard from the area of the Berkeley Commons shopping center to New Hope Road is dependent on when the city can obtain the right of way.

Meanwhile, some preliminary work is beginning on the final sections of the U.S. 70 Goldsboro Bypass.

There are already two northbound lanes on North Berkeley Boulevard to its intersection with New Hope Road, but only one southbound lane from New Hope Road to the shopping center. The widening project would add a second southbound lane.

"That is actually a cooperative project between us and the city," said Chris Pendergraph, state Department of Transportation district engineer. "The way it is basically laid out, the city will be acquiring all of the right of way. We are in the final stages of design, the tweaks if you will. Within the last few months we have had plan reviews fine tuning the plans.

"As it stands, the ball is kind of in the city's court to finish obtaining some right of way. I understand they have had a few problems, as you would with any project, trying to buy people's land who may, or may not, necessarily want you to buy it. Once they finish buying the right of way, then we will come in and begin the project. The main time factor is going to be when we can obtain that right of way."

The U.S. 70 Bypass is being built in sections and is expected to be open to traffic in July 2015. Once completed, the 20-mile, $246 million bypass will begin at U.S. 70 just west of N.C. 581 and end at U.S. 70 just east of Promise Land Road in Lenoir County.

Work began Sept. 29, 2009, on the $65.3 million section from Salem Church Road to Wayne Memorial Drive, which opened in December 2011. It has been designated as N.C. 44 until the entire project is completed.

"We have begun on both sides of that, the west side and the east side," Pendergraph said. "We are well under way on what they call the 'A' section, the west side. As far as the east side, it was going to be a little longer before we actually got to see some dirt turning over on that because that design was not completely finished.

"They are actually going to go ahead with some areas that were actually permitted under the piece that is already built from (Interstate) 795 to Wayne Memorial Drive. The permitted plans actually went out a little bit further (east) than stopping right there at Wayne Memorial Drive. We will go ahead and start building that so we can get some construction going in the next month or so."

The state anticipates having the design and right-of-way acquisition far enough along so that new construction can start after the first of the year.

"Spring of next year we will have construction on both ends (of the existing section)," he said. "There will be more dump trucks running around Wayne County than you can shake a stick at. Most of them will be off road so it won't clog up roads."

In February, the state awarded a $104.4 million design-build contract to Barnhill Contracting Co. of Tarboro for the 12.5-mile section of the bypass from east of Wayne Memorial Drive to U.S. 70 just east of Promise Land Road.

The design includes interchanges at U.S. 13, Parkstown Road and U.S. 70.

Construction could begin by the end of the year or by early 2013 with completion scheduled for no later than July 1, 2015.

A $62.4 million contract was awarded in July to S.T. Wooten Corp. of Wilson for the final, and westernmost, section of the bypass.

The 5.9-mile section will stretch from U.S. 70 west of Goldsboro to I-795 and include interchanges at U.S. 70 and N.C. 581.