North Carolina DOT Continues Work on 40-Mile Fayetteville Outer Loop
Work continues on two sections of the multiphase Fayetteville, North Carolina, Outer Loop project, which will bypass city traffic and provide better access to the metropolitan area and Fort Bragg Army Base.
"When the portion under construction is completed, the outer loop will run from Interstate 95 to Fort Bragg," says Jason P. Salisbury, Resident Engineer for the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT). "I'm proud to be associated with something that will bring better access to Fayetteville and Fort Bragg. It will be a good accomplishment. This will help more people than most of the other projects we have done."
The more than 40-mile entire outer loop, Interstate-295, consists of more than a dozen projects, the first of which was completed in 2000. Another wrapped up in 2004.
"The part under construction now will get less than half of the total project completed," says Randy Wise, NCDOT Division Six District Engineer. "We have five projects yet to be constructed."
One project is set to start in 2016: U-2519CA at $89.4 million; and two in 2018: U-2519BB at $54.3 million and U-2519BA at $79.6 million.
The Fayetteville Outer Loop received funding through the state's Transportation Improvement Plan through 2021. U-2519AA, at $56.9 million, and U-2519AB, at $131.9 million, are scheduled to start in 2020. The new state budget includes a provision to accelerate construction on the extension of the loop from Camden Road to I-95 South of Fayetteville.
"The acceleration of these two sections of the Fayetteville Outer Loop will work to improve vehicle capacity and relieve congestion along the I-295 corridor," said Division Six Board of Transportation Member Terry Hutchens. "This will help not only our local drivers, but also connect Fort Bragg to the strategic I-95 corridor and enhance mobility options for our military."
Current Projects and Unusual Challenges
NCDOT has two sections under construction. NCDOT in collaboration with several engineering firms designed the projects.
"The entire project needed thorough permitting," Salisbury reported, including dealing with an endangered woodpecker.
R.E. Goodson Construction Co. of Darlington, South Carolina, received a $56 million contract for U-2519DA, a less than 1-mile section, from SR-1415 west to NC-24. It contains 13 bridges, both concrete and steel, and three culverts. The contract includes grading, drainage, signing and structures but not paving, which was let under a different contract, X-002CC, to Barnhill Contracting Company of Raleigh, North Carolina, for $32 million. The project is nearly complete and scheduled to finish this summer.
"The dirt work is a normal road job with traffic issues," says James Goodson, a Project Manager with R.E. Goodson.
The bridges primarily cross roads. Two pass over creeks, one over a wetland, and the culverts handle smaller bodies of water. This contract, which started in fall 2011, builds one-half of an interchange with three levels of bridges to connect the outer loop with the All American Freeway.
"It's a pretty involved intersection," Goodson says.
Conti Enterprises of Edison, New Jersey, received the $126 million contract for U-2519CB to build the 6.8-mile section from Cliffdale Road east to All American Freeway and the second half of the interchange. The company will construct 17 bridges, four over wetlands within the limits of Fort Bragg; place 30,000 feet of stormwater drainage pipe; build a mile of sound walls and MSE walls; and pave this and a portion of the DA previous section. The four wetland bridges reach 1,000 feet each across the wetlands.
"That section cuts through Fort Bragg, so it will present some challenges to the contractor to get access to the base," says Salisbury. "We are coordinating to make sure we don't do anything that interferes with what the base does on a daily basis."
Every person working on the project, including delivery drivers, must pass a background check, creating challenges for deliveries and working within the Fort Bragg property. The road will run near the base's border and become the prime access route to the base from Interstate 95.
"This was the path of least resistance and had the least impact on the residents and the business community," Salisbury says. "Fort Bragg is highly interested in completing the project and working with us."
The bridges have concrete decks and the roads are asphalt. Work began in 2014 and is scheduled for completion in fall 2018.
Bridges of Unique Design
The U-2519DA section of the outer loop contains two interesting bridges, being built under a subcontract from RE Goodson by Lee Construction of the Carolinas in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The largest structure on the project is the bridge number eight, a post-tensioned, curved structure at the top level of the interchange with All American Freeway.
"It's cool to see," Salisbury says.
The other unique structure is a scissors bridge. Rather than the girders running with the roadway, on this bridge the precast concrete girders run perpendicular to the travel lane. The bridge has a poured deck. The foundation is half piles and caps, and the balance has MSE walls.
This is one of the first times North Carolina has built this type of bridge. Although a current project in Durham also will have one. Salisbury reports that it was selected primarily to save money.
"Part of it is the configuration of the roadway," Wise adds. "It's where a ramp and the collectors cross each other on a very tight skew."
The project remains on schedule, with work progressing smoothly. Lee has experience in building these types of bridges. Everyone is looking forward to completion of the entire outer loop and what it will mean for the community and the military.
"This is exciting and has different types of challenges," Salisbury concludes. "It is refreshing to build large scale, new location projects."