Motorists can expect road closures, lane reductions and detours as work begins on two new interchanges on U.S. 117 South.
The U.S. 117 work could start as early as July 31 and is scheduled to be completed by October 2019. Additional work with vegetation and reforestation may continue through March 2020.
U.S. 117 intersections at O'Berry Road, Dudley, and at Country Club Road, just north of Mount Olive will be upgraded to interchanges.
Eventually, O'Berry Road will go over U.S. 117, and U.S. 117 will pass over Country Club Road.
Detours will eventually be necessary with this project.
O'Berry Road will be completely closed at U.S. 117, with a signed detour. Construction there is limited to 12 months.
U.S. 117 at Country Club Road will be reduced to one lane in each direction, and eventually detoured on to the new ramps as the bridges on U.S. 117 are built.
Construction on this section of the project is limited to 18 months.
The N.C. Department of Transportation has awarded a $20.6 million contract for the project to ST Wooten Corporation of Wilson.
Both interchanges are being built to enhance safety and in preparation for U.S. 117 eventually being designated as an Interstate in this area, DOT officials said.
These improvements are necessary because both intersections already carry an average of 15,000 vehicles per day, and that number is expected to increase to over 27,000 per day by 2037, the officials said.
Wooten also has been awarded a $4 million contract for milling, widening and resurfacing work.
Improvements are on the way for 2.7 miles of N.C. 55 between U.S. 117 Alternate and Thunder Swamp Road at Mount Olive, as well as 2.8 miles of U.S. 13/U.S. 117 Alternate between Genoa Road and South George Street.
Work will also take place on 2.2 miles of U.S. 13 between the William Street bridge and the U.S. 117 Alternate loop exit ramps for U.S. 70.
Resurfacing is also planned for 18.4 miles over 27 sections of secondary roads across the county.
Work on the project can begin Aug. 1 and is expected to be complete by Oct. 31, 2018.