Rowanscreenshot2A local roadway project which has been on the drawing board for years is about to get underway. Construction was to have begun in December, but needed supplies were not immediately available to the contractor, said DOT Division Construction Engineer Randy Wise. Replacement of the aging Rowan Street Bridge will result in the most dramatic change to the western downtown gateway since the existing bridge was built 60 years ago. The overpass carries NC 24-210 (Rowan St) over CSX Railroad and Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks and Hillsboro Street. The state Department of Transportation deemed the overpass structurally deficient and functionally obsolete. “That means that while it remains safe, it’s in deteriorating condition and needs to be replaced,” said DOT spokesperson Peggy Beach. “It was built to design standards no longer used in bridge building,” she added. DOT let the project in July of this year at an estimated cost of $18 million. The actual cost is $24.3 million, according to the bid awarded the contractor, S.T. Wooten Corp.
of Wilson, NC.
Utility companies have finalized the work of relocating utilities (power, phone, cable, other communications). In addition, the relocation of water and sewer lines has been authorized, according to PWC. Work on the sewer will be the first sign of actual construction work getting underway, said Wise. That requires the temporary closing of Hillsboro St. in the immediate vicinity of the project. That should take place any day now. A detour has been marked. Work on bridge fills and culverts will follow. “While there are already things going on with the project that are not really evident, the biggest sign to the public that the project has begun, will be the closing of Hillsboro St.,” Wise added.
The new bridges will be impressive, but the real change will be the reconfiguration of the streets. Rowan Street, Bragg Blvd., and Murchison Road will be realigned to join one another at a single intersection.
There will be no roundabout, which at one time had been considered. The acquisition by the state of properties along Bragg Blvd., Hillsboro Street and Murchison Road is complete. They included the popular Vick’s Drive-In, which had been there nearly as long as the bridge. The entire project will take an estimated three years to complete, said DOT. An animated likeness of the end result can be seen on YouTube at Rowan Street Bridge Project Virtual Flyover.

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