NCDOT lists major projects in Gates Co.

Published 5:19 pm Tuesday, July 12, 2022

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GATESVILLE – NCDOT’s Strategic Transportation Improvement Program list (2020-2029) includes several upcoming projects in Gates County.

The county’s board of commissioners were updated about those projects during their recent regularly scheduled meeting.

Win Bridgers NCDOT Division One Engineer shared the highlights of those pending projects.

“These are the big projects that the different RPOs (Rural Planning Organizations) within each NCDOT Division across the state fights for,” Bridgers noted. “They are scored (for priority) and we get upset when they don’t make a [higher] score and you get upset when they don’t make a score, but we have to live with what we’re dealt.”

Bridgers said there are five such projects in Gates County listed on the STIP. The first two are bridge replacements: one on Willeytown Road and the other on Harrells Church Road.

The Willeytown Road project comes with an estimated cost of $507,000. It is currently in the “Design Underway” category with an expected contact let date of Oct. 19, 2022.

The let date for the bridge replacement on Harrells Church Road is Oct. 16, 2024. The cost for that project is estimated at $2,167,000.

Bridgers offered more details on a $14,092,700 project that will improve US 158 in Gates County through the Dismal Swamp (from Acorn Hill Road to the Pasquotank County line. He said that project is in the “Design Underway” stage with a contact let date slated for July 18, 2023.

“[The project] is for modernization of the road by adding paved four-foot shoulders, improving drainage, and making certain the roadway is built to current NCDOT standards,” Bridgers stated.

“The question has been asked when we finish topping off the road through the swamp,” Bridgers continued. “This [project] is what will finish topping it off. If you drive through the swamp in the rain, the road holds water in every wheel rut, a significant amount of water. What you see out there now isn’t pretty, but we increased the safety by eliminating the ruts. It stopped it from holding water.”

The newest project, he said, will finish what has been started.

“The biggest thing with this new project is adding the four-foot paved shoulders. That will hopefully cause drivers not to feel like they’re pinched up while traveling through the swamp,” Bridgers stressed. “There will still be some earth shoulder beyond the paved shoulders.”

The last Gates County project currently listed on the STIP calls for improvements on NC 32 from NC 37 (Gliden Road) to the Virginia state line. That project also calls for adding paved four-foot shoulders improving drainage and making certain the roadway is built to current NCDOT standards.

Bridgers said the estimated cost of that project is $132,100,000. He added that at this point there is no let date listed for the contract.

“This project is designed to allow that road to carry traffic more safely and minimize accidents,” he said.

As far as other projects (resurfacing) in Gates County, Bridgers noted they include Gates School Road, Drum Hill Road, Costen Road, US 158 east from TarHeel, Saunderstown Road, and Parkers Fork Road.

“Our contracts are let in the spring and the fall and have an 18-month window in which the contractor can work,” Bridgers explained. “We only have two paving companies in Division One so these projects do take time to complete; they’re not enough asphalt plants to keep up with all the projects. They’re doing all they can do right now.”

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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