Barnhill Contracting Blazes Trail Around Wake Forest

Tue November 18, 2008 - Southeast Edition
Eric Olson

The third and final leg of a new highway bypass around the Wake County town of Wake Forest, N.C., northeast of Raleigh, is currently under way and is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2010.

Work began on the $11.5 million third phase of the North Carolina Highway 98/Wake Forest Bypass in March. The state Department of Transportation (NCDOT) project is relatively short, at 1.55 mi. (2.5 km), but when finished will complete a nearly $30 million, four-lane, median divided highway approximately 7 mi. (11.3 km) in length.

The completed sections of the Wake Forest Bypass are located east of U.S. Highway 1 and connect to the current N.C. 98 east of town. That portion of the bypass was started in 2002 and finished in 2006, according to Boyd Tharrington, the NCDOT’s resident engineer on the project.

This third section of the bypass stretches to the southwest of Wake Forest, from just west of the U.S. Highway 1 interchange west to N.C. 98, located near Thompson Mill Road.

As a result of the bypass construction, NC 98 through Wake Forest has now become known as Business NC 98.

Tharrington and the DOT have been working with Barnhill Contracting Co. of Tarboro, on the final leg of the Wake Forest Bypass.

“There will be different realignments of the existing side streets connecting into the bypass, such as Falls of Neuse Road and Old NC 98,” said Rodney Conner, Barnhill’s project manager on the bypass. “Besides that, we will also construct a new intersection with Old NC 98 and we have a little bit of water line relocation that has to be done.”

Tharrington said that no major weather or traffic problems have been encountered since the third phase began construction in March.

“Besides the usual summer storms, we really have had decent weather conditions since we started,” he said. “We have only had occasional lane closures for road crossings and will have more as soon as we start working around the tie-ins with existing roads. When that happens, too, we will eventually have to close sections of current roads and provide a detour route.”

He also said that no major obstacles have hampered work on this phase of the bypass and none are expected.

Work on the project, Tharrington said, has included clearing and grubbing, grading, drainage, paving, the installation of signals, noise wall construction and chemical soil stabilization. Approximately 308,000 cu. yd. (235,500 cu m) of excavation is being performed on site with about 167,000 cu yd. (128,000 cu m) of off-site burrow to be brought in.

As part of that excavation, Conner added that his company had to make a few “30- to 40-foot cuts” in the landscape, as well as some “25-foot fills to balance the job out,” but nothing they had to do proved to be too challenging.

In addition, Tharrington said the road subgrade would be chemically stabilized with lime or cement. An aggregate base course and asphalt will make up the pavement structure and a site adjacent to the project will be used to gather fill dirt.

Conner said that Barnhill is using a variety of Caterpillar equipment on the bypass, including several model 12 and 14 motorgraders, a 613 scraper, a 330 hydraulic excavator and a 315 excavator, as well as several rear dump trucks and tractor rollers. He added that all of the Caterpillar equipment used on the project made his company’s job much easier.

“Barnhill has been just great to work with,” Tharrington said. “They have done a good job of maintaining progress and quality and their efforts with erosion control have been outstanding.”

Rea Contracting of Raleigh is handling the road paving portion of the project. CEG