05/16/13 — Bypass work advances

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Bypass work advances

By Steve Herring
Published in News on May 16, 2013 1:46 PM


A crew from Barnhill Contracting Co. tackles grading work just off U.S. 70 at the Wayne-Lenoir county line. Workers have begun building the eastern terminus of the Goldsboro Bypass, which will run north of the existing highway from Johnston County to Lenoir County, a distance of just over 22 miles.

What has, until now, been mostly behind-the-scenes preparations for construction of the eastern leg of the new U.S. 70 Goldsboro Bypass is giving way to more visible evidence that work has started.

That has already been the case on the western stretch of the highway where work crews are right on, if not slightly ahead of schedule. The entire stretch of four-lane road is expected to open in the fall of 2015.

"Looks like later in this summer we should really be under some full-way construction on both ends," said Chris Pendergraph, District 3 engineer for Division 4 of the state Department of Transportation.

It is more difficult to judge progress on the eastern section, Pendergraph said, because so much of that contract was based on plan design.

Barnhill Contracting Co. of Tarboro was awarded the $104.4 million design/build contract in February for the 12.5-mile section from just east of Wayne Memorial Drive to U.S. 70 at Promise Land Road in Lenoir County.

It will include interchanges at U.S. 13, Parkstown Road and U.S. 70. Completion is scheduled for no later than July 1, 2015.

Barnhill also built the first bypass section from just east of Wayne Memorial Drive to just west of Salem Church Road. Work began Sept. 29, 2009, on that $65.3 million section, which opened in December 2011. It is designated as N.C. 44 until the bypass is completed.

In design/build, an architect/engineer teams with a contractor to design and to build a project.

"(Barnhill) have just gotten started as far as the construction," Pendergraph said. "Design/build, when the contractor actually does the design, obtains all of the environmental permits, buys the right-of-way, ensures utilities are moved and then builds the roads, takes time. We normally take care of those first five processes in-house within DOT, and then give it to the contractor to build it.

"So work out there has actually been going on a lot behind the scenes. It is almost in a perpetual machine of finalizing the design, getting the permits, buying the right of way, moving the utilities, and it is almost like each section up and down through there is in a different state. They have started moving some dirt out there. Their surveyors are working out there frantically to stay ahead of construction."

Obtaining permits and buying the right of way were a major part of those efforts, Pendergraph said.

"They have a lot of the front-line stuff done so it appears on a typical progress chart that they are way ahead of schedule," he said. "But they can be ahead of schedule because of the initial stuff, but then construction-wise actually be slightly behind schedule.

"Right now we really don't have a good feel for that, but all indications are that part of the bypass remains on schedule."

As far as property condemnation goes, that can only be done by the state. Barnhill does not have that authority, he said.

"In essence what is happening is they are doing the legwork," Pendergraph said. "They are doing it under our name. They are doing it under our authority and under our supervision. They are using our power of eminent domain. So if someone knocks on your door, it may not be a DOT employee. It could be some kind of contractor, but they are doing it under the authority and full supervision of the DOT."

It appears the right-of-way acquisition has moved quickly and has not been drawn out, he said.

There still might be a few access permits that need to be obtained, but those are relatively "minor-type things" when it comes to right-of-way, he said.

"If somebody out there has not been contacted (about right-of-way), then they must not be affected," Pendergraph said.

In July 2012, S.T. Wooten Corp. of Wilson received the $62.4 million contract for construction of the 5.9-mile western section that stretches from U.S. 70 West to I-795.

"Everything is looking good over there," Pendergraph said of work on that section. "Fortunately, the weather so far has been pretty conducive to construction. Hopefully that will continue this summer for both of our contractors so we maybe we can get this wrapped up a little ahead of schedule."

The slightly more-than-22-mile, four-lane Goldsboro Bypass will begin just west of N.C. 581 near Community Drive and swing just north of Goldsboro before ending in Lenoir County near the U.S. 70 intersection with Promise Land Road.