Road crews will begin work Monday on a two-year project to build interchanges at two intersections on U.S. 70 just east of Selma.
U.S. 70 will remain open during construction, with lanes closing at times while workers place steel beams for the two overpasses, but traffic on U.S. 70 Business will face a detour, said Jennifer Heiss, an N.C. Department of Transportation spokeswoman.
Work starts Monday at the intersection where U.S. 70 Business crosses U.S. 70 from the west and becomes Peedin Road Extension. That’s the stoplight where Collins Inc., a boat dealership, is located.
The project will convert the intersection into an interchange, with traffic on U.S. 70 Business and Peedin Road Extension crossing the highway via an overpass. Ramps will provide access for traffic in all directions.
During the work, traffic looking to cross U.S. 70 will take a detour on nearby Firetower Road.
“People aren’t going to have to go that far to get around,” Heiss said.
This fall, a similar project will begin about one mile west on U.S. 70 at the intersection where Stevens Chapel Road becomes Davis Mill Road.
For each project, the DOT decided to use detours instead of working around traffic to leave lanes open. Doing so shaved six months to a year off of the total construction time, Heiss said.
The work should wrap up in July 2017. The DOT awarded the $16.7 million project to Flatiron Constructors Inc. of Broomfield, Colo.
The DOT undertook the project because of safety concerns, said Division 4 project manager Jerry Page. Motorists have died and been seriously injured in that area, he said.
An average of 29,000 cars travel that section of U.S. 70 every day, according to the DOT. In the next 20 years, traffic is expected to jump to 45,000 cars per day.
“By doing these interchanges, we should eliminate some of the accidents where people are getting hurt,” Page said.
N.C. 210 bridges
Motorists driving west of Smithfield will have to avoid N.C. 210 for another couple of months.
Workers have finished replacing the main bridge over Swift Creek and have demolished a nearby bridge that traverses overflow water from the creek. Weather permitting, the DOT expects to have the second bridge built by mid-September.
Until then, the DOT will continue to divert N.C. 210 traffic on a long detour that runs around the Johnston County Airport.
Both bridges over Swift Creek were built in 1934, Heiss said, and they featured outdated designs. The new bridges will meet modern standards.
The current construction is the final leg of a $10.4 million project undertaken in 2013 to replace 12 bridges in Johnston County. The DOT awarded the work as an express design-build contract to S.T. Wooten Corp. of Wilson.
The other bridges were on N.C. 96, Juniper Church Road, Benson-Hardee Road, Old Stage Road, Eldridge Road, Bizzell Grove Church Road, Old Beulah Road, Shoeheel Road and Micro Road.