US 158 project advances

Published 3:56 pm Sunday, May 12, 2019

JACKSON – The NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) is gearing up to start on the US-158 widening project in Northampton County, and the Board of Commissioners made that work a little bit easier here at their regular meeting on May 6.

Northampton Public Works Director Kirk Rogers presented several items for consideration to the Board. The first two were offers from the NCDOT to purchase two lift stations. Rogers explained both were located in the path of the new highway construction. The NCDOT plans to replace those lift stations on adjacent property.

“We spent the better part of four months reviewing these plans and making changes,” he explained of talks with the NCDOT. “They have been more than hospitable.”

The parcels in question are both located in Garysburg. NCDOT offered $2,400 to purchase the lift station located at the Sanfilippo peanut facility and $11,625 for Garysburg’s lift station #1.

Board Chairman Charles Tyner asked if the NCDOT would rebuild the two lift stations to ensure they would function even better than before, and Rogers replied yes.

“Northampton County will be better off,” Tyner said, pleased with the answer.

Vice Chair Geneva Faulkner requested clarification on who would be responsible for maintaining the lift stations afterwards.

“It’ll be our responsibility,” Rogers answered.

The Board unanimously approved the sale of both parcels.

The other matter Rogers brought to the Board was a Use and Occupancy Agreement with the NCDOT pertaining to the US-158 widening project. This agreement would allow the NCDOT to design and construct the relocation of water and sewer lines along the new highway routes. This includes work on not just US-158 but also NC-46 and US-301 as well.

This work is scheduled to begin on June 1.

“This pertains to the water and sewer lines themselves,” Rogers explained. “They will be replacing every one that they have to move.”

The Board also unanimously approved this agreement.

At the end of the presentation, Commissioner Kelvin Edwards asked Rogers to provide a few more details about the widening project for citizens who may be unaware.

Rogers explained NCDOT’s plan is to expand US-158 to a four-lane road beginning from the I-95 exit in Garysburg. The highway at that exit is currently NC-46, but it would be widened to four lanes and rerouted around the town to connect with US-158. Rogers also noted the NCDOT also plans to construct a roundabout where the road intersects in that same area with US-301.

“It’s a big deal,” Rogers said of the project.

He added the contract is scheduled to be let in July. This first phase of the widening project will end at St. John’s Church Road outside of Garysburg. The rest of the project, which will continue to widen the highway to the Murfreesboro Bypass, has yet to be funded by the NCDOT.