The improvements for the Nashville-Rocky Mount area comprise three projects currently listed separately in the N.C. Department of Transportation’s State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP R-5720, U-5996 and U-5026).
To complete these improvements, NCDOT has combined them into two sets of projects with their own contract letting schedules, which are described below:
Widen Eastern Avenue between Red Oak and North Old Carriage roads into a four-lane road with a raised median (STIP R-5720). And replace the Sunset Avenue bridge over I-95 and add an interchange with ramps and loops to provide new access to the highway (STIP U-5026). Sunset Avenue also will be widened to four lanes with a raised median between Halifax and North Old Carriage roads. The project will include a multi-use trail along Sunset Avenue from North Old Carriage Road to Halifax Road. On Oct. 24, 2019, NCDOT awarded a $60.5 million design-build contract for this set of projects. As of August 2022, the design-build team has completed the design phase and right-of-way negotiations for the current contract. Construction activities have been underway since mid-2021, and construction is anticipated to be completed by November 2023.
Widen North Old Carriage Road between Eastern Avenue and Green Hills Road (STIP U-5996). The portion of the route south of U.S. 64 will become four lanes with a raised median, and the rest will be widened to three lanes to create an open-center turn lane to reduce congestion and the risk of rear-end collisions. The North Old Carriage Road bridge over U.S. 64 will be replaced and widened, too, but traffic on the bridge will be maintained during the construction of a new bridge. On January 27, 2022, NCDOT awarded a $20.3 million construction contract for this project. Construction is anticipated to be completed by the fall of 2024.
Overall, NCDOT will build 11 roundabouts across the three STIP projects, and the existing roundabout at Nash Community College’s Eastern Avenue entrance will be improved. Roundabouts improve safety because drivers must slow down when using them, and the structures improve traffic flow. Medians improve safety by reducing the risk of crashes.