US 117

Traffic flows north on U.S. 117 on Tuesday after crossing over the highway’s interchange with Country Club Road, north of Mount Olive, and heading toward the O’Berry Road overpass. By the end of September through the fall of 2022, motorists can expect delays and lane closures because of a resurfacing project that stretches between the Wayne-Duplin county line and the U.S. 117/U.S. 70 interchange.

Motorists who travel U.S. 117 between Goldsboro and the Wayne-Duplin county line south of Mount Olive should be bracing for lane closures and delays over the next year because of a major resurfacing project.

The project is part of the state’s routine resurfacing program and is not tied to the currently stalled long-range plan to upgrade the U.S. 117 corridor in order to extend Interstate 795 from Goldsboro to Interstate 40 in Sampson County, said Andrew Barksdale, N.C. Department of Transportation spokesman.

“It is totally unrelated,” he said.

The N.C. Department of Transportation awarded the nearly $6 million paving contract to S.T. Wooten Corp. of Wilson.

Wooten’s bid was the lowest responsive bid of three proposals that opened Aug. 17. Also, Wooten’s bid was 12% below engineering estimates.

The project calls for the company to mill away the top layer of asphalt and resurface the four-lane highway between the U.S. 117/U.S. 70 interchange, just south of U.S. 70, including its ramps, and the Wayne-Duplin county line — a distance of nearly 16 miles.

A map of the project route, roughly represented by a blue line, can be found at https://bit.ly/2WJWfWF.

Along with the new asphalt, highway improvements will include high-visibility pavement markings and snow-plowable raised reflectors.

Wooten may begin the work after Sept. 27 and will have until the fall of 2022 to complete the improvements.

During construction, drivers will encounter daytime lane closures and periodic delays, Barksdale said.

Motorists should slow down and be alert traveling through the work zone, he said.

In addition to the paving and safety improvements, the paved shoulders will be widened along U.S. 117 between the Country Club Road and O’Berry Road interchanges.

Wooten built both of those interchanges.

The new portion of U.S. 117 that goes over Country Club Road, just north of Mount Olive, opened in April 2020.

Work on the Country Club Road interchange began in January 2018.

Construction on the O’Berry Road project at Dudley began in August 2017, prior to its December 2018 opening.

The two interchanges cost an estimated $20.6 million.

The interchanges are part of a proposed project to upgrade about 24 miles of the U.S. 117 corridor to interstate standards between I-40 in Sampson County and I-795 in Wayne County. The project also includes a portion of Duplin County.

Part of the upgrade may involve building new sections of roadway. The existing corridor includes N.C. 403, U.S. 117 Connector, U.S. 117, U.S. 13 and N.C. 581.

The project has been broken into six sections.

Four sections are scheduled for right-of-way acquisition within the next eight years, but none of the four is funded for construction in the 2020-2029 State Transportation Improvement Program.

That project is currently unfunded, Barksdale said.

“We started having financial problems in 2019, and then our finances went off the cliff in 2020,” he said. “So that has been on hold.

“It is on pause.”

For more information on the project, check the DOT website, https://bit.ly/3zAHCDC.