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  • Jefferson Weaver

Major highway projects gearing up

Several of the biggest highway projects in the county will soon be seeing some activity.

Ken Clark of the Whiteville Department of Transportation office said two of those projects, N.C. 11/87 and the U.S. 74 interchange at Boardman, have been prioritized due in part to a rash of fatalities at the crossings.

A public hearing is set for Monday at Boardman Pentecostal Holiness Church to give residents a look at the proposed interchange for Macedonia church Road, Old Boardman Road and U.S. 74. Emergency signage was added to the intersection last year after several fatalities within a brief period of time.

The interchange will include two roundabouts, one on each side, with full on and off ramps to the future Interstate. Currently, the intersection is an at-grade crossing, Clark explained.

“This design impacts about three property owners,” he said. “We hope that we can accelerate this project even faster.”

At the other end of the county, the intersection of N.C. 87 and N.C. 11 – which saw an increase in serious crashes after the improvements to Black Rock Bridge over the Cape Fear – now has a four-way stop and caution lights. That project has also been accelerated, Clark said.

“Our consultant has developed about 25 percent of the plan,” Clark said. “The environmental documentation / study is beginning. The current construction bid let date is October 2023 but if we see ways to accelerate we will.”

Midway between the two, construction is in the earliest stages at the intersection of Hallsboro road and U.S. 74-76. That crossing will also feature an interchange with on and off ramps, similar to the N.C. 211/U.S. 74-76 bridge at Bolton.

“The contractor is getting his borrow soil pits secured and permitted,” Clark said. “You should see things being ‘torn up’ in the next 30 days or so. We advise everyone to use a lot of caution when traveling through this or any other of our project areas. There will be congestion from time to time as well as delays, although the contractors will try to keep those at a minimum.”

Improvements at another deadly intersection, Peacock Road and U.S. 701, have been completed, Clark said. DOT installed several signing upgrades and installed a concrete median on the corner of the convenience store, Clark said.

“Accident history and observations showed a pattern of traffic ‘cutting across’ the corner into an area of no defined driveways,” he explained.

Monday’s meeting at Boardman is from 5-7 p.m., and is open to the public. Maps of the project will be available, and DOT officials will be on hand to answer individual questions. No formal presentation is planned, but the public can find out specifics about the size and scope of the project.

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