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Back on track

ASHEBORO — The on-again, off-again NC 42 widening project is back on schedule.


Cary Fine, resident engineer for NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) District 8, said right-of-way disputes had pushed back progress on the project. In 2021, the NCDOT said at the time that disaster recovery spending due to hurricanes had cost the state much more than was budgeted, pushing back scheduled projects.


Right-of-way acquisition continues and is expected to be completed by September, at which time utility relocation can begin, Fine said. He hopes that a contract for construction can be awarded by June with work on the widening to begin by fall. Construction is expected to be completed in 24 months.


The stretch of roadway, from near Dixie Drive to Salisbury Street, includes the intersection with Dublin Road and the entrance to the Randolph-Asheboro YMCA, a heavily congested area at certain times of the day and week. 


A public meeting was held by representatives of the NCDOT in January 2019 at Lindley Park Elementary School. At that time, a NCDOT public relations officer, Andrew Barksdale, said widening NC 42 would be to three lanes with a center left-turn lane, a traffic signal at Dublin Road, and separate entrances to NC 42 from Dublin Road, Thomas Street and Dublin Square Road. 


NC 42 will become the main through street where it connects with Salisbury Street. There also will be concrete curbs and gutters and sidewalks on both sides of NC 42 from Salisbury Street to Dixie Drive, according to Barksdale.


At the January 2019 public meeting, the NCDOT handed out the following information:


“The purpose of the proposed project is to improve traffic operations and address safety concerns along the NC 42 corridor. The realignment of the major intersections along this corridor and the change in traffic control at some locations, such as adding dedicated left-turn lanes and implementing an all-way stop, is expected to improve traffic operations. 


“Providing a two-way left turn lane is expected to have an overall positive impact on the pattern of rear end crashes this corridor is currently experiencing that involve a left turning vehicle stopping in the through lane. Providing a two-way left turn lane between intersections will provide a refuge area outside of the through lane for those vehicles waiting to turn left into driveways located throughout the project corridor."




Another NCDOT project in Asheboro is moving forward.


The I-73/74 interchange with US 64/NC 49 is scheduled to be enlarged with service roads and include a northbound entrance ramp from Albemarle Road and allow travelers to drive directly to Albemarle Road using a service road.


The “split diamond” pattern splits the ramps between two crossroads, typically with an exit ramp/entrance ramp pair serving each of the crossroads. 


District 8 resident engineer Cary Fine said right-of-ways have been acquired and the next step is demolition of the former Quality Inn motel on Albemarle Road as well as tearing down or moving some smaller buildings. Relocation of utilities is ongoing, Fine said, adding that June 20 is projected as the date to award a construction bid. 


The overall project will widen US 64 to four lanes for 2.2 miles, from the interstate to the western end of the US 64 bypass. Also, the project will replace the NC 49 bridge over US 64 with a taller and longer bridge. The bridge was built in 1952, is too low for some of today’s taller vehicles, and is what the NCDOT has designated “functionally obsolete."