Chapel Hill Gets Funds for Culbreth Road Completion

CHAPEL HILL – You will soon be able to travel on the improved Culbreth Road, as town officials got a needed increase in funding for the project.

The project, originally with a change order of $150,000, faced unforeseen conditions that required an additional $222,370 to complete the project in time.

Director of Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation, Butch Kisiah, says the town did not need to find additional funds to complete the project.

“We had monies budgeted in contingency just in case something like this happened,” Kisiah says.

Kisiah says the town is investing in getting Culbreth Road, a major thoroughfare, completed before the end of the summer because of the influx of students that will be traveling through that area to get to school.

“We have Culbreth Middle School just up the road from the tunnel,” Kisah says. “We want to try and have the road back open in time for that school opening.”

Work on Culbreth Road was slowed down after it was discovered that the soil workers are developing through is not strong enough to support the weight of the accompanying tunnel. To correct this, Kisah says workers are digging out the soil until they reach the bedrock.

“If we didn’t do this, there’s a good chance that after we finish the project, we would have some subsidence because of the weight of the tunnel and the road,” Kisiah says. “Basically, we would end up having to come back and rework Culbreth Road again.”

Chapel Hill and Orange County crews will also be closing part of the Boulder Creek Trail next week to repair flood damage.

Road Construction Gaining Momentum

CHAPEL HILL – Construction on roads in Chapel Hill is picking up momentum after weeks of rain.

The three big projects are located at Smith Level Road, Weaver Dairy Road, and South Columbia Street. Resident engineer Chris Kirkman says a little extra work has gotten the projects going again.

“Yea it did slow it down, but in the last week–Columbia street for example–we were able to get a lot done, and get a lot done this week so we’re able to regain momentum,” Kirkman says. “They worked this past weekend Saturday and Sunday.”

Kirkman says he’s use to working against the weather to complete a project.  However, he says the rain this summer has been the biggest opponent while working on the roads.

“This year obviously, looking at the weather data that this has been unbelievable as far as rainfall the past June and July, fortunately we were able to regain a lot of momentum last week and this week,” Kirkman says

Although rain has slowed construction on the roads during summer, hurricanes could pose similar threats.  Kirkman says the construction teams are working to complete the roads by their estimated deadline.

“We would get the section between 86, or MLK, that end of it all the way down to the round about, hopefully that will be done by late August,” Kirkman says.

Kirkman says Smith Level is estimated to be completed in May 2015, and South Columbia will be completed around December 2014.

Construction on Weaver Dairy Road Set To Finish In July

CHAPEL HILL – Construction on Weaver Dairy Road has been ongoing since 2010, but next month the section of road between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and the roundabout near Erwin Road will be completed.

The construction was meant to expand Weaver Dairy Road to include more exclusive turn lanes for drivers and raised medians.

According to a resident engineer with the N.C. Department of Transportation, Chris Kirkman, parts of the road will still see construction for a few more months.

“We have a retaining wall to install between the roundabout and Erwin Road. That’s going to take a few more months,” Kirkman said.

Kirkman says the expected traffic delays around the area where the wall is being installed should be minor.

“The intersection will be in its final configuration; all the lanes and the traffic signals,” Kirkman said. “It should be functioning well.”

While the plan is to be finished with the majority of the project by July, Kirkman adds that the frequent rain the area has been getting could delay completion.

“Asphalt has to dry off before you put your pavement markers down,” Kirkman said. “Rain has a huge effect on progress of a project.”

Workers are also adding sidewalks and bike and bus lanes to the stretch of Weaver Dairy Road between MLK Boulevard and Erwin Road.