U.S. 421 bypass work continues

Oct. 12, 2013 @ 06:21 PM

The Oct. 1 target completion date for the southern end of the U.S. 421 Bypass has come and gone, and officials believe it could be anywhere between six months to a year before the work will be completed.

A wet spring and summer along with ample amount of rock and slate at the worksite slowed the construction process, and an anticipated cold and rainy winter will only prolong the process, according to N.C. Department of Transportation Resident Engineer Gary Phillips.

"The contractor has given us a revised progress scheduled, and it gives the completion date of April 2014," Phillips said.

The contractor, Michigan-based DeVere Construction, could not be reached for comment.

The contractors are completing soil stabilization by adding lime to the soil so it provides a better base and structure for the pavement, Phillips said. The northern end will connect U.S. 421 to U.S. 1 near Cumnock Road when it is completed.

"They've pretty much finished up the bridges, but they do have one left," he said. "It's the bridge at Cumnock Road, and it's a pretty large scale operation."

Sanford-Lee County Planning Director Bob Bridwell said during the Lee County Commissioners's meeting this week that the project may take at least a year before it is complete.

"It's disappointing, but not as critical had it been a delay on the southern end of the section," Bridwell said in an interview Thursday. "The northern part of 421 gives us significant access to Greensboro and beyond to Charlotte for that matter. It helps that connection very well."

The county is very interested in regional transportation systems, and Lee County, Bridwell said, is arguably the best connected area in the state.

The cooler temperatures will slow down the construction process, adding everything between November and March is dictated by temperature and weather, Phillips said

"We are continuing to work as hard as we can go," he said. "We are at Mother Nature's mercy, and the contractor is committed to completing the milestones as soon as possible."

The contractor was awarded $30.1 million for the project, and is paying $2,800 per day past the original completion date.

The northern end of the U.S. 421 Bypass, located near the intersection U.S. 421 and N.C. 87, was completed earlier this year.