A pair of paving projects will be impacting travel on U.S. 701 in Bladen and Columbus counties over the next several weeks. Work got under way this week on a 7 1/2-mile stretch of U.S. 701 between north of Clarkton and N.C. 242 near Elizabethtown in Bladen County. Crews will initially be milling the roadway to prepare it for paving. The work is being done between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and will require a lane closure. Flaggers are in place to direct traffic, but motorists should be prepared for delays of as much as 10 to 12 minutes in the area, as traffic from opposite directions take turns being escorted by a pilot car through the work zone. An alternate route using Mercer Mill Brown Marsh Road, which parallels U.S. 701 on its east side, can be used to get around the work zone. The paving on this section of U.S. 701 is expected to wrap up by Nov. 7.Meanwhile, the same type of paving improvements are expected to begin Monday, Oct. 13, weather permitting, on four miles of U.S. 701 in Columbus County between north of Whiteville and N.C. 131. Work on this section can take place between 8 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and is scheduled to be complete by Oct. 24.This work will also require a lane closure with flaggers directing traffic. To avoid the work area, motorists can use Red Hill Road to the east of U.S. 701 as an alternate route.The N.C. Department of Transportation reminds drivers to use caution and obey the speed limits in both work zones for their safety, as well as the safety of passengers, other motorists and the crews working along the highway.For real-time travel information at any time, call 511, visit www.ncdot.gov/travel or follow NCDOT on Twitter. Another option is NCDOT Mobile, a phone-friendly version of the NCDOT website. To access it, type m.ncdot.gov into the browser of your smartphone.