Improvements coming for roads in for Bladen, Cumberland, Columbus, Harnett and Robeson counties

FAYETTEVILLE – Several roads in Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Harnett and Robeson counties, which comprise Highway Division 6, will get paved shoulders and improved intersections, thanks to a new way to fund smaller highway projects.

“This new program allowed our department to identify and fund low-cost projects that will really benefit local communities,” said Terry Hutchens, the state Transportation Board member for Division 6.

Grady Hunt, an at-large member of state transportation board from Robeson County, said the department’s $1.1 million contract last year to build a roundabout outside Lumberton is an example of the kind of successful projects that could be built more quickly using the new fund.

Much of the money will be used to add two feet of paved shoulder to either side of the following roads over the next two years:

— Cumberland County: Beaver Dam Road between Hollow Bridge and Stedman Cedar Creek roads; Slocumb Road between McBryde and Collier Chapel roads; West Reeves Bridge/Wire Road between U.S. 401 and the Harnett County line;

— Harnett County: Hodges Chapel Road between U.S. 301 and I-95; Piney Grove Rawls Road between U.S. 401 and the Wake County line; Old U.S. 421 between McDougald and Willie Cameron roads;

— Columbus County: West Railroad Street between Cherry and Church streets; Cherry Street/Cherry Grove Road between Rough and Ready Road and West Railroad Street; Church Street/Powell Street between West Railroad Street and U.S. 76; and Fronis Strickland Road between N.C. 904 and the South Carolina line; and

— Robeson County: N.C. 71 between N.C. 20 and N.C. 211.

With the exception of West Reeves Bridge/Wire road in Cumberland County, the roads that will be widened also will be resurfaced this year from a different source of money. NCDOT’s Division 6 staff consulted with local transportation officials on the Metropolitan and Rural Planning organizations to develop criteria and select 15 projects across the division.

The new program also will allow NCDOT to construct left turn lanes at the following intersections:

— N.C. 210 at North Willow Street in Harnett County

— N.C. 211 at Elwell Ferry Road and N.C. 87 at Baltimore Road in Bladen County

— U.S. 701 at Bill Hooks Road in Columbus County

Greg Burns, the Division 6 engineer, said the improvements, which are going to secondary routes that generally have 55 mph speed limits, will give motorists additional pavement, which will reduce the potential for vehicles veering off the road. Providing a left-turn lane will allow motorists on the affected highways to turn without impeding through-traffic at an intersection.