Bypass crawls to completion

June 2015

June 30 | June 26 | June 18 | June 8: Please see update below regarding the opening.

By Jeanne E. Fredriksen

As the Rolesville/U.S. 401 bypass continues its crawl to completion, and the last lap is nearly in sight, everything rides on when the contractor, Michigan-based DeVere Construction Co., will give the N.C. Department of Transportation the green light to put traffic onto the road.

According to NC DOT Resident Engineer in charge David Moore, and as of this writing, it appears that final paving will occur over the weekend of June 6 and 7. This hints that the bypass will open for use sometime during the latter part of June. Before that happens, the contractor must finish a traffic shift on the south end of the bypass toward Louisbury Road as well as a list of smaller items on the road itself.

“We want as much work done as possible before the opening,” Moore said. “Whenever the contractor makes that shift, they have 10 days to get traffic onto the bypass. That’s the trigger time that we’re looking at to be able to give a definite answer (about completion).”

Hwy 401Moore added the caveat that if DeVere doesn’t make the 10-day period, the contractor will be fined heavily on a daily basis until the road is opened. During those 10 days, with the clock ticking loudly, they’ll have minimal cleanup work to do before NC DOT allows them to turn traffic onto the bypass.

“That’s one thing we’re trying to get them to understand,” Moore continued. “We’re saying, ‘look, get as much done now while you don’t have traffic to contend with and while it’s safer and doesn’t impact the public.’ The last thing we want to do is put traffic on the bypass and then have to do lane closures. That puts our people at risk because they’re working in traffic.”

Moore cautions that things can still change, which has been the case since last September, when the project was expected to be done.

“Past experience is that we think one thing one day, we walk into a meeting the next, and the whole plan has changed again,” he warned. “We’re so close, but I’m still so hesitant to put an exact date on it.”

In the world of good and bad news scenarios, the bypass is no stranger. The bad news is that depending upon the contractor’s ability to complete the remaining construction tasks, and once traffic is moved onto the bypass, there still may be minimal lane closures. The good news is they won’t enforce lane closures every day, all day.

Any necessary lane closures will be restricted to between 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. But because that’s a less productive time period due to traffic, the contractor may opt to switch to night work. Nighttime lane closures are allowed to begin after 6 p.m., but all lanes must be reopened by 6 a.m. to avoid rush hour traffic.

The latest U.S. Census Bureau report has declared Rolesville the fastest-growing town in the state since 2010, and Town leaders are counting on the bypass to support that growth by opening up parcels for additional construction.

“The Town will be pleased to see the bypass open up,” Town Manager Bryan Hicks said. “The relief of traffic congestion will be blessing to our residents. We also hope that the bypass will open up a new opportunity for commercial development, which will help the economic vitality of our community.”

Moore, who himself travels through Rolesville every day, twice a day, to get to his NC DOT office in Raleigh, said he can’t wait for the bypass to open.

“As far as feeling the pain with the traffic,” he said, “I’m right there with everybody. It can’t happen soon enough.”

For current updates regarding the opening of the long-awaited bypass, monitor our website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed (@Rolesvillebuzz).

UPDATES from the Town of Rolesville:

June 30, 2015:

DOT pushed the Bypass contractor to not wait for the tie-in work near Louisbury Road.  We were notified that the work will now be completed between Monday, July 6 at 9 pm and Tuesday, July 8 at 5 am.   That is not on a weekend as originally planned.  Existing 401 from Jonesville to Forestville will be closed in that period of time.  Traffic will be detoured down Jonesville and Mitchell Mill Road.  If this time schedule is adhered to, the bypass could open up on July 17.  As more updates come in, we will do our best to pass them along as promptly as possible.

June 26, 2015:

From Bryan Hicks, Rolesville Town Manager:

We just got a call from NCDOT staff regarding the bypass.  They stated that with the cold front coming through and the high chance of showers this Saturday, the contractor has decided to not complete the pavement tie-in work this weekend down near to Louisbury Road.  That means that the existing 401 will remain open all weekend.  DOT will not allow the contractor to do the work next weekend, because of the July 4 holiday, so it currently appears that it will be done Saturday, July 11.  That means as well that the bypass will not open up on July 8 as anticipated and will then most likely be moved to July 22.  If anything changes and DOT supplies updates, we will be sure to pass them along.  I’d like to remind everyone that this is a DOT funded and managed project and not the Town of Rolesville’s.  For concerns and questions, anyone is welcome to contact DOT at 919.250.4202

June 18, 2015:

From Bryan Hicks, Rolesville Town Manager:

NC DOT gave the Town of Rolesville an update on the bypass late yesterday.  The contractor notified DOT officials that they will make the southern pavement tie-in next weekend there close to Louisbury Road.

As a result of that work, existing 401 will be closed from Jonesville Road to Forestville Road.  All traffic will be diverted down Jonesville to Mitchell Mill Road.  The closure will be from Saturday (6/27) at 10 pm till Sunday (6/28) at 10 am.  With this tie-in being finished, DOT stated that the bypass is scheduled to open for traffic on July 8.  This first opening will most like be only one lane north and one lane south but at least it will give some much needed traffic relief to existing 401.  The contractor will then work at night throughout the summer putting the final layer of asphalt down and final thermo pavement striping.

If DOT notifies the Town of any changes to the schedule mentioned above, we will be sure to send out another email and post it on the informational website page.

For further questions or information, DOT can be reached at 919.250.4202.

June 8, 2015:

DOT has notified the Town of Rolesville that the contractor hopes to complete a tie in near existing 401, Louisbury Rd, and the future 401 bypass on June 27.  The contractor would shut existing 401 down from Jonesville Road to Forestville Road from Saturday, June 27 at 10 pm till Sunday, June 28 at 10 am.  Once that roadwork is complete, the bypass could open for traffic on July 8th.

Another DOT contractor is currently working on resurfacing existing 401.  That roadwork continues and is anticipated to last for another week depending upon the weather.  Expect delays between 7 pm and 6 am.