The expected completion of work on N.C. 268 East from N.C. 18 in North Wilkesboro to Airport Road has been pushed back to late summer, said Trent Beaver, N.C. Department of Transportation Division 11 construction engineer.
When Beaver updated the North Wilkesboro Board of Commissioners on the 3.6-mile highway project in August, he said completion was expected in mid-summer.
Burnsville-based Young & McQueen Grading Co., the project’s general contractor, started on-site work in the spring of 2015. The company’s successful bid for the project was $25.9 million.
Beaver said the state’s contract with Young & McQueen lists a completion date of March 27, 2020, which includes having all vegetation planted, so no penalties for delays are accruing. Penalties wouldn’t be calculated until after the project is completed, he added.
DOT officials have said delays resulted from utility relocation and the weather, especially record precipitation in 2018.
Work is underway on the entire length of the project, from the N.C. 18 intersection in North Wilkesboro to the Airport Road intersection. Beaver noted that Young & McQueen is working later in the day than normal on Fridays and on some Saturdays to help speed up completion.
For most of the section between the Mulberry Creek bridge and the Airport Road intersection, eastbound and westbound vehicles are now using the two new eastbound lanes while work continues to convert the original two lanes of N.C. 268 to westbound lanes.
N.C. 268 East won’t be any wider from the N.C. 18 intersection to the Fairplains Road intersection, but curbs and gutters are being added. Beaver said there will still be a stoplight at the Fairplains Road intersection.
From the Shaver Street intersection to the Fairplains Road intersection, N.C. 268 East will have five lanes with a center turn lane.
From just east of the Fairplains Road intersection to the Airport Road intersection, N.C. 268 East will have a raised concrete median between the eastbound and westbound lanes.
There will be breaks in the median at the intersections of Flint Hill, Vista, Beaumont and Airport roads. There will be bulb outs that allow for truck U-turns for eastbound traffic just east of Blevins Building Supply and for westbound traffic at the Fairplains Road intersection.
The project includes a sidewalk along the south side of N.C. 268 East the entire length in town to the Flint Hill Road intersection and on the north side from the Temple Street intersection to the Flint Hill Road intersection.
The Town of North Wilkesboro is sharing in the cost of the sidewalks.