Sanford bypass project falls behind schedule

Estimated completion date moved to Dec. 31
Jul. 25, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

The opening of the northern end of the U.S. 421 bypass has been pushed back, with North Carolina Department of Transportation officials expressing hope it will be completed by next year.

The $30 million project was set to be completed by October, but according to NCDOT Lee County Resident Engineer Gary Phillips, the project's completion date has been postponed to Dec. 31.

"It's behind schedule by 20 percent," he said. "It was originally supposed to be open by Oct. 1, but that is not going to happen."

The contractors are behind because of recent summer storms and are still grading the land and constructing the bridge. The exit ramps will need to be installed after the bridge construction is complete, Phillips said.

The south end of the bypass, which begins near the intersection of Highway 87 and old U.S. 421, has been open for a few months, and Phillips said once the north end is completed, DOT will go through the entire highway and update the signage.

Other Lee County construction projects include:

* Several crossovers — places for drivers to make U-turns — are slated to be closed in August on U.S. 1 in the Tramway area.  Phillips said he doesn't know which crossovers would be closed and that there has been "some back and forth" in the design stages.

"That is iffy," he said. "There has been a lot of back and forth and the Lee County people trying to figure out what we are going to do there."

The anticipated closures are part of a "superstreet" concept that would force vehicles on Bryan Drive to turn right on U.S. 1 and make a U-turn. Similarly, on Tramway Road, vehicles will be unable to cross U.S. 1 to Center Church Road and would be forced right until they are able to make a U-turn. This project is a result of the projected traffic increase from a commercial development at the Tramway and U.S. 1 intersection. 

* Seven miles of secondary roads within Lee County, including portions of Weatherspoon Street and Lee Avenue, were just finished being repaved last week.

* Two miles of San-Lee Drive will be paved in August.