HAVELOCK, Craven County - The North Carolina Department of Transportation said it is working on coordinating utility relocation with utility companies to make way for the anticipated construction of the Slocum Road Flyover on Highway 70.
State engineers said the steps were part of the beginning process towards the construction of the new bridge that is meant to ease rush hour traffic in Havelock.
Power, cable and telephone lines will be moved but the state engineers do not anticipate any disruption to customers. It is planned for the project to lift in June when the contract has been awarded, however the actual construction of the bridge has been scheduled for August. The bridge would to allow free flow of eastbound traffic going into Cherry Point's Slocum Gate.
At the moment, cars headed in that direction have to stop at a red light and a back-up of cars follows. Engineers and city officials agreed that situation has created a hazard for traffic flow on the highway with frequent car crashes.
"The flyover project is to basically construct a new bridge over Highway 70 for the eastbound traffic that is heading into Slocum gate into the base without having to stop traffic at the existing lights on Highway 70 and cross over two lanes on on 70,"said Brad McMannan one of the state engineers assigned to the project.
Part of the plan for the project is to make changes to the intersection of U.S. 70 and Pine Grove Road in front of the fire station. Once completed, drivers will not be able to make U-turns there or cross U.S. 70 at the intersection.
Nearby neighborhood roads are going to be upgraded and repaved with new traffic signals added at intersections along the highway. A link road and sidewalks will be built to connect the MacDonald Downs and Tucker Creek subdivisions and middle schools.
Once construction begins in the fall, road users would have to watch out for road closures and observe lowered speed limits expected to go up along that route. The expected completion date for the project is August 2019.