WHITEVILLE – The new Hallsboro Road interchange opened to traffic on Friday, two months ahead of schedule, further improving safety and travel along U.S. 74/76 in Columbus County.
An N.C. Department of Transportation contractor built a bridge over U.S. 74/76 with ramps that allow drivers to cross over the highway and easily merge onto or off it without impeding traffic. Before, Hallsboro Road was a traditional “at-grade” intersection, requiring drivers to stop before proceeding onto U.S. 74/76, which did not have to stop.
The new interchange, which is Exit 248, is another step by the department to upgrade U.S. 74 to interstate standards, which will boost economic development and tourism and allow for higher posted speed limits.
“People in the community have been very eager to start using this interchange and the new bridge over the highway,” said Ken Clark, the NCDOT district engineer based in Whiteville. “This project will reduce the risk of crashes, reduce congestion on Hallsboro Road and improve emergency response.”
The department awarded a $9.4 million contract to BMCO Construction Inc. of Lumberton in early 2018 to construct the project. Because of delays brought on by Hurricane Florence and other wet weather, the deadline to open it was extended to August of this year. However, the contractor was able to finish about two months early.