2018-05-16 / Featured


Improvements begin on Old Durham Road

Much-needed improvements to the surface of Old Durham Road began this week. They should continue into July. 
BILL WILLCOX | COURIER-TIMES Much-needed improvements to the surface of Old Durham Road began this week. They should continue into July. BILL WILLCOX | COURIER-TIMES For those sick of dodging potholes on Old Durham Road over the years, it was a welcome sight.

After setting up equipment on Friday, a work crew from Carolina Sunrock was busy on Monday, milling down the road and filling a dump truck with the broken pavement, the first phase in an expensive project to fix the road once and for all.

Drivers can expect delays as the road is reduced to one lane of traffic. Assistant County Manager Tommy Warren said drivers should consider using Highway 501 as a detour.

The section of road being repaired is from Somerset Baptist Church north to Talbert Building Supply.

Diane Rupprecht, a spokesperson for Sunrock, said the target completion date for the project is July 1, and there will be no total road closures associated with the project. She said both lanes of the road will be open at night after 6 p.m.

By contract, Sunrock needs to finish the project by July 31. The project has been in the works since February, when the Roxboro City Council voted for a budget amendment to set aside about $500,000 from fund balance to get the project underway. At the time, City Finance Director Dan Craig said the city managed to increase its fund balance by $2 million over the past six years so it was in a good position to take on the project.

Mayor Merilyn Newell said she was delighted to see the project underway and was pleased the council worked out the financing a full six months ahead of its normal budget process because the cost of the project far exceeded the city’s currently budgeted funds.

“It was important to us to get this area addressed as soon as feasible considering the nature of the work to be completed and weather delays,” she said. “This section of Old Durham Road has had some issues that worsened over the past year and we knew our patching it was a temporary fix. We are now able to fully address the substructure of the road and repair it for the long term.”

Oakley said getting the bids back early was important since many contractors like to set aside the warm months for large NCDOT projects.

The project was expensive because it was necessary to mill down to the concrete subsurface of the road, which had deteriorated because it was originally built over a swamp.

At first, it did not appear the work would be accomplished this spring. After two rounds of advertising the project for bids, Sunrock submitted the only bid, for $762,591, far over the $500,000 budgeted for the project.

However, Oakley visited the site with Sunrock representatives who proposed using a geotextile reinforcement material which would reduce the amount of milling from three feet to one foot. That reduced the bid estimate to $456,156.

Oakley said the Sunrock is currently using the method on other projects in Durham and Granville County.

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