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August I-74/US 311 Progress Report, Part 2

As I mentioned in the previous post, I was joined by local resident Bill Travers, who has helped update me on the status of the 311 project through e-mail the past couple years. He showed me several additional areas to check out. I will also include photos showing what construction has started along US 220 in the Asheboro area.

I. I-74/US 311 Freeway, Design-Build Section
A. Spencer Road
Not much new to report here, still a place where most of the clearing and grading equipment is being parked.

B. Banner Whitehead Road
There has not been much progress clearing the section north of the roadway:
Though there was progress on demolishing the farm to the south of the road, here is all that is left of the buildings, most of which were still standing in July:
If anyone needs some cement bricks, this is the place to go to. We then proceeded back to 311 to take a left after the water tower onto-

C. Nelson Park Road
This is a road that dead ends at a house, the freeway cuts the house off from the rest of the road. This is a view looking south toward the next bridge to be built:
There was not much clearing to the north. A service road to the house from the east will likely be built to serve the house cutoff by the freeway.

D. Branson Davis Road
Here a new road alignment is being built along with a bridge over the freeway. Here's a look at the alignment looking south, back towards it's beginning, the current road on the right:
This photo looks the opposite direction, the cut (by the telephone pole) is where the bridge will be built:
Here's a closer look at the bridge site itself:
A view looking to the northwest shows the clearing that has taken place back toward Nelson Park Road:
All the earth moving equipment were from North Carolina's favorite manufacturer, Caterpillar.

E. Walker Mill Road
This road is just to the southeast of Branson Davis. From here you can see the clearing that has gone on south toward the current US 311 interchange construction area:
F. Current US 311 Interchange
Much progress has been made in building the new bridge and 4 lane road alignment that will replace current 311, and allow NCDOT to move train tracks in the way of construction. Here's a view looking east along the new alignment to the bridge:
It appears all the re-bar is in place and is waiting the pouring of concrete, close-up view a few photos down. The surrounding area is being cleared both for the freeway, the bridge and the on and off-ramps that will be all be to the north of the new alignment:
Also phone and electric lines will have to be moved. The grading has included digging out the future roadway path up to the existing US 311:
Don't know whether the metal stakes to the right are to shore up the 311 embankment, or are for future use when dealing with railroad tracks across the road. Here's the closer view of the bridge itself:
This is a steel rod supported concrete structure, as are all other bridges in the design-build section. An addendum to the original plans changed bridge materials to concrete with steel support from all steel seen in the bridges in the first phase of construction. Less progress has been made on the new highway alignment, here is looking west from the bridge:
The space is being used to store equipment needed for the bridge. A view from the east end:
Shows more grading is needed. The alignment ends at the new intersection with Wall Brothers Road. As seen below, with a familiar vehicle, this intersection was originally where the bridge is now being built and so was moved by shifting it to the east and south to meet 311:
According to the original plans, 311 is to leave the freeway and take it's old alignment south (east) to US 220. None of the addenda indicate a change, but another plan specification asks the contractor to remove all the US 311 signs along its current alignment at the end of the project. So we'll find out at the end of 2012 which is correct.

G. Plainfield Road
A new bridge is being built here along the existing road alignment, a temporary road has been built to the north to keep traffic flowing during construction. Here's a look at progress on the bridge since July:
A view to the south shows progress in clearing and grading which is mostly complete from here to the US 220 interchange:
Construction work on the right is not for the freeway, but for a service road that will connect a farm located at the end of the next road, Old Courthouse, which will be cut off by the freeway. The bridge in the distance is at Heath Dairy Road. A look to the north shows clearing except in the area where the temporary roadway is built, construction here will not begin until the bridge is complete:
H. Old Courthouse Road
As mentioned above, the freeway will cut off the end of this road which leads to a farm. Clearing and grading here is being done by some very large Volvo earth movers:
Clearing progress to the south and the Heath Dairy Road bridge in the distance are better seen without the construction equipment in the way:
I. Heath Dairy Road
Here a new road alignment and bridge are being built with substantial progress on the bridge, but not a lot of new construction since July:
A view under the bridge shows how close in proximity Heath Dairy is to the US 220 interchange, where more construction equipment can be seen in the distance:
The future I-74 eastbound lanes, to the right are in better shape than the westbound lanes. Here's a closeup of the concrete bridge structure:
Progress has been made west of the bridge on the new road alignment, which has almost reached the existing road:
It mirrors the existing roadway but at a higher elevation. Finally a look back to the north:
The view goes all the way back to Plainfield Road bridge, where the crane is located in the distance.

J. The US 220 Interchange
Quite a bit of progress has been made here, while I had been pessimistic in my last post about the placing of beams for the bridge, progress since has allowed these to be placed on the support structures during the week just ended. Here's the view approaching on South US 220:
The crane used to lift the cement steel reinforced beams is still in the median. A closer view...
Shows the two bridge support structure, the first is for the east I-74 ramp to 220 (I-73) North, the second is the flyover bridge taking I-74 West from 220 (I-73) North. Here's a closer view of the flyover ramp bridge:
As you can see it curves over the northbound roadway to meet the future ramp. This can be seen a little better turning around and heading north:
Here's progress on building the I-74 West ramp to access the flyover bridge:
A view from the same direction of the future ramp bridge to US 220 (I-73) North:
By now, you may have realized something doesn't sound right. Shouldn't the EB I-74 bridge be to the south of the westbound flyover bridge? In the original plans the interchange called for two 'loop ramps' from US 220 South to access I-74 West and to take East I-74 traffic to US 220 (I-73) South and two flyover ramps that would take I-74 West traffic and traffic from I-74 East going north onto US 220. Sometime after public comment, either due to cost, or traffic estimates, the ramp to 220 north was changed from a 2-lane flyover to a one lane bridge and cloverleaf interchange. The I-74 West flyover was kept in its same place. Therefore I-74 West will not only cross over US 220 but need to cross the ramp from I-74 East to US 220 North before meeting the westbound ramp from 220 South. I don't have plans indicating whether the flyover will cross the ramp on another bridge or a bridge for the US 220 north ramp will be built over I-74 West.

II. Construction to Improve US 220 in Asheboro
NCDOT indicated construction started in early August with nighttime lane closures from Fayetteville Drive to McDowell Road and daytime closures from McDowell to the NC 134/US 220 Business exit. They have even included these lane closures in their TIMS traffic reports.
A. Fayetteville Drive to McDowell Road
It doesn't appear here though that any construction has started in this area. This is the only indicator that lane closures are planned:
Work is supposed to start with widening the right shoulders, however, no construction equipment, traffic barrels to close lanes, or actual construction was seen.

B. McDowell Road to NC 134/Business 220
Most of this section also has seen no construction, the exception is the last mile southbound before the NC 134/Business 220 Ulah exit, currently 51, to be 75. Construction to increase the width of the right shoulder can be seen:
This continues until about 1/4 mile before the Ulah exit:
The same construction as seen from the northbound US 220 lanes (no construction was evident in this direction):
Can you spot something (and someone) that shouldn't be in this photo in front of the cleared area? If this is the progress made in a month by this contractor, no wonder NCDOT doesn't predict the project will be finished until the end of 2012.

Finally, for those who haven't seen my I-73 Segment 8 page. Find the goof in the following sign assembly just north of the Ulah exit:
I will return to the area in about a month for the next check on construction progress.


Bob Malme said…
The TIMS Report has been changed as of late September to only include a report about construction on the southern end of the construction area along southbound US 220 during the day. Occasional reports for initial bridge work during the night on the northern section appear just on the day of the closure.

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