Asheboro - Governor Pat McCrory and N.C. Department of Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson joined state and local representatives Thursday afternoon to celebrate the groundbreaking of the U.S. 64 Asheboro Bypass. The bypass will relieve heavy traffic congestion, improve local access and increase safety along the corridor.
The project also includes the 1.8-mile Zoo Connector, which will improve access to the North Carolina Zoological Park and alleviate current congestion issues on N.C. 159 (Zoo Parkway).
"This project will help provide a freeway connection to the North Carolina Zoo and alleviate current issues with traffic congestion for both visitors and people who live here," said Governor McCrory. "This is one of many projects under construction across the state that will help improve regional and cross-state connectivity that are central to enhancing economic development and quality of life."
The new bypass is a major part of Governor McCrory's 25-Year Transportation Vision to enhance travel safety and to better connect North Carolinians to jobs, education, healthcare and recreation opportunities.
New transportation projects in the state's current 10-year plan are funded through the Strategic Mobility Formula, a new way of more efficiently investing transportation dollars by using a data-driven scoring process along with local input to fund more projects and create more jobs. Governor McCrory championed the new mobility formula and signed it into law in June 2013.
"The U.S. 64 Bypass is a significant project for this region because it will improve travel time for locals and visitors and provide an easy access point to the Zoo, one of our state's great tourist destinations," Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson said. "This project was made possible thanks to the new transportation formula championed by Governor McCrory that prioritizes projects based on need, not politics."
The U.S. 64 Asheboro Bypass is a 16.1-mile four-lane highway that will improve traffic flow, reduce congestion, improve safety and enhance high-speed regional travel on the U.S. 64 corridor. The bypass is a controlled-access (no driveways) highway separated by a grassy/landscaped median. Interchanges are included at:
U.S. 64 on both ends of the project
I-73/74 (U.S. 220 Bypass)
The Zoo Connector
The Zoo Connector is a full-access two-lane roadway that runs directly to the entrance of the North Carolina Zoo and can only be accessed at two break points.
A short connector road will provide access from Zoo Parkway to the Zoo Connector and the Bypass. The N.C. 159 grade-separation is being eliminated and a roundabout is proposed at the zoo entrance. The N.C. 159 interchange with U.S. 64 was also eliminated.
The U.S. 64 Asheboro Bypass is an integral part of NCDOT's plan to upgrade the U.S. 64 and N.C. 49 corridors from Statesville to Raleigh (U.S. 64) and Charlotte to Raleigh (N.C. 49 and U.S. 64). This project has also been a good example of collaboration as NCDOT worked with the Zoo and local officials to revise the design of the Zoo Connector to move traffic away from local homeowners.
The $244 million design-build contract for the project was awarded in June 2015 to Asheboro Bypass Constructors, a joint venture between Thompson-Arthur Paving and Construction (APAC) and Wright Brothers. RK&K are the lead designers for the joint venture. Construction is scheduled to begin in July 2016 with completion scheduled for late 2019.
The project includes six interchanges, 24 bridges and box culverts, and 8 million cubic yards of earth and rock excavation (enough to fill more than five Panthers stadiums from bottom to top). It will also include enhanced bridge aesthetics around the zoo, including a Drystack stone pattern stained with three different colors and elephant logos.
For more information on the U.S. 64 Asheboro Bypass project, visit the project's website.