Skip to main content

Final(?) I-74/US 311 High Point East Belt Progress Report

NCDOT's Construction Progress Report produced a new estimate of completion for the I-74/US 311 freeway between Business 85 and Cedar Square Road on September 20, about 10 days earlier than usual. The report indicated the project was 94.2% complete. Assuming, even with the rainy weather, that this completion percentage was approaching 95% by the first Sunday in October, I took, what I hoped would be, a final trip to the corridor to confirm progress on building the freeway hoping it appeared almost completed (and hopefully to be opened before November, more on that later). What I found was most of the work on the road itself had been completed, with a few exceptions, all that's left to do is some final landscaping, placing covers on the remaining open median water drains, the placement of signs, both overhead and at ground level, and the putting down of lane markings (much of which had been preliminarily marked along the roadway). Here's a summary heading west to east or north to south, depending on whether you prefer to use I-74 or US 311 cardinal directions.

A. The Business 85 interchange
The ramps and roadway leading from the open freeway up to Baker Road have largely been cleaned off, though no interchange signage or lane markings have appeared. Here's the view for where traffic must exit now esatbound:
Here's the view looking at the future on ramp to I-74 East from the 'volleyball interchange'. They still need to work on the traffic signals and clean the roadway near the intersection:
B. Baker Road
The final coat of asphalt for Baker Road has still not been placed, but the landscaping around the bridge appears complete:
Looking southward, one can see the roadway is almost complete with a few landscaping and drain cover issues still needing to be addressed:
A closer look at the westbound roadway reveals an initial marking of where the shoulder and lane markings will be placed:
Note there is nothing for the left shoulder, this is the case on most of the freeway that's marked, though in some areas only the left and right shoulders are indicated.

C. Jackson Lake Road
This area appears near completion, sign structures are up and lanes are marked for striping, some landscaping and drainage covers still need work, both looking west/north:
And south/east toward Kersey Valley Road:
D. Kersey Valley Road
A similar story can be said here. More sign structures have been put up, but the recent rain hasn't helped with the large hill landscaping. First here's a view of the bridge:
A few more posts for the guardrails also need to be installed, after the construction road is no longer needed. Here's a similar view but including the signage structure for the future 2 mile advance sign for the Business 85 exit:
Notice also completion of the median guide wires. Here's the landscaping problem I mentioned:
While the drainage system seems to have worked well, most of the top soil put on the embankment has washed away, and will need to be replaced.

E. I-85 Interchange
The interchange as seen from Dresden Road appears completed, or close to being so:
A truck ramp to the eastbound exit off ramp will have to be closed. Meanwhile an overhead sign structure at the splitting of the I-85 north (flyover) and south ramps has been put up. On I-85 itself all the signage has been put up with the I-74/US 311 signs remaining covered:
The covered sign marks one mile before the beginning of the I-74 interchange C/D ramps. Below is the final sign covered over at the beginning of the C/D ramps northbound:
Photo taken from the NC 62 off ramp. There have been no additional signs or sign posts put up yet at the I-85 north on ramp from NC 62 which uses the C/D lanes.

F. NC 62 and Tuttle Road
With the exception of markings demarking future traffic lanes, nothing new was seen at these locations, both seemingly near completion. The landscaping has filled in nicely as seen from both directions on the Tuttle Road Bridge. First, north:
yes, those are bikers heading southbound, and looking to the south:
Hard, to spot but you can see median guide wires have been placed here as well. The sign structure seen last month around the corner is still the last one along the freeway heading south.

F. Poole Road
The only change is the completion of the bridge over a creek to the north, it also looks like they repaved this section:
Landscaping also may still be an issue to the north of these bridges. Looking south from the Poole Road bridge shows a scene similar to last month, no pavement markings, or sign structures for the Cedar Square exit seen here, though more guardrails have been installed:
Looking along the freeway that parallels Poole Road, the only real change is the absence of machinery:
The truck access route from Poole has been closed, so trucks are using the median to turn around to get off the freeway at the Cedar Square interchange.

G. Cedar Square Road Interchange (Temporary End of Freeway)
There has been progress in placing final pavement down for the sections that will be opened to traffic, though as stated before, no signage structures have been put up, nor evidence of signage along Cedar Square at the future I-74 west interchange. Here's a view of the on ramp from the end of Poole Road:
The on ramp is straight ahead. The future off ramp from I-74 East, not paved beyond the cement median, is to the left. Here's a view of the progress in constructing the eastbound off ramp which all traffic will use until late 2012:
Notice they are still working on landscaping and containing water runoff before the ramp. The view of the ramp from Cedar Square Road shows further need for landscaping:
Not to mention replacement of traffic barrels. The view from Poole Road looking south toward the bridge shows the extent of progress in paving the ramps and future westbound I-74 roadway:
While a view from the bridge looking southward, shows the progress of the westbound offramp and the unpaved sections which are now the responsibility of the Poole Rd to US 220 contractor:
A view from the future Eastbound on ramp shows the extent of the ramp and borrow pit construction:
Yes, those are the same bikers again. The official opening date for this segment is still November. Hopefully, though the weather will cooperate, especially when it comes to placing the line markings down. I am moving back to my native Massachusetts at the end of October and it would figure that NCDOT would wait until a couple days into November before opening the road. Especially after all the effort I've made in pointing out their mistakes.

I took photos along the next section of construction from Spencer Road to US 220 and will put those up on another post. I'll certainly have to return someday to take a ride after that section's open. Meanwhile, if there are any others interested in following the progress of the final section of the 311 Bypass, feel free to take rod trips to document it.

Comments

Bob Malme said…
According to the news article here:
http://www.hpe.com/view/full_story/9746266/article-Work-progresses-on-U-S--311?instance=main_article
NCDOT hopes to open this segment of I-74 by Thanksgiving. Given the photos showing major completion and dry weather forecast for the next week, hopefully they can finish earlier.
Commuter Joe said…
Fascinating coverage, thank you.

Popular posts from this blog

Yes, the color of your nearby fire hydrant matters...

...and here's why. You will find White, Red, Yellow and Violet colored fire hydrants pretty much everywhere.  But there's a reason for this - and it's because of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).  This association has issued guidelines for color coding standards for fire hydrants.  These color codes from the body of the hydrant, top of the hydrant, and in some municipalities the outlet caps are designed to allow fire fighters to know what type of system, water flow rate (Gallons Per Minute or GPM), and level of water pressure.  This guideline is known as NFPA 291 and is intended to be used universally throughout the United States. The NFPA guidelines are specific to the body and the top cap of the hydrant.  If a hydrant is WHITE or YELLOW - it means that it is connected to a public/municipal water system.  If a hydrant is RED - the hydrant is connected to a private system, typically a well.  These are most common in rural or unincorporated areas

Phase 1 of the California State Route 132 West Expressway (in the making since 1947)

On September 15, 2022, the Phase 1 of the California State Route 132 West Expressway opened in the city of Modesto from California State Route 99 west to North Dakota Avenue.  Phase 1 of the California State Route 132 West Expressway was built upon a corridor which was tentatively to designated to become the branching point for Interstate 5W in the 1947 concept of the Interstate Highway System.  The present California State Route 132 West Expressway corridor was adopted by the California Highway Commission on June 20, 1956.  Despite almost being rescinded during the 1970s the concept of the California State Route 132 West Expressway corridor lingered on for over half a century and became likely the oldest undeveloped right-of-way owned by California Transportation Commission.  Pictured above is the planned California State Route 132 freeway west of US Route 99 in Modesto as featured in the May/June 1962 California Highways & Public Works.   The history of the California State Route

Aptos Creek Road to the Loma Prieta ghost town site

Aptos Creek Road is a roadway in Santa Cruz County, California which connects the community of Aptos north to The Forest of Nisene Marks State Parks.  Aptos Creek Road north of Aptos is largely unpaved and is where the town site of Loma Prieta can be located.  Loma Prieta was a sawmill community which operated from 1883-1923 and reached a peak population of approximately three hundred.  Loma Prieta included a railroad which is now occupied by Aptos Creek Road along with a spur to Bridge Creek which now the Loma Prieta Grade Trail.  The site of the Loma Prieta Mill and company town burned in 1942.   Part 1; the history of Aptos Creek Road and the Loma Prieta town site Modern Aptos traces its origin to Mexican Rancho Aptos.  Rancho Aptos was granted by the Mexican Government in 1833 Rafael Castro.  Rancho Aptos took its name from Aptos Creek which coursed through from the Santa Cruz Mountains to Monterey Bay.  Castro initially used Rancho Aptos to raise cattle for their hides.  Following