More Currituck roads to get new asphalt while U.S. 158 will have to wait until 2022

Grinding of the old U.S. 158 road surface near N.C. 136 on March 24, 2021. [Sam Walker photo]

More roads in Currituck County will be getting new pavement over the next two years, but the wait will continue for U.S. 158 in Lower Currituck.

The NCDOT has awarded a new contract that will pave over 23 miles of roads in Currituck County between spring 2022 and winter 2023, including five miles of the N.C. 615 Marsh Causeway to Knotts Island.

The $3.9 million contract, awarded to Rose Brothers Paving Company of Raleigh, covers milling, resurfacing, shoulder reconstruction and guardrail replacement

Among the secondary roads included in the contract are South Mills Road in Moyock, Brumley Road in Knotts Island, and Bayview Drive in Aydlett.

Rose Brothers worked in late spring on U.S. 158 from Jarvisburg to near Poplar Branch. But Barnhill Contracting ran out of time to work between Jarvisburg and the Wright Memorial Bridge this year.

The old U.S. 158 road surface from Macedonia Church Road to Garrenton Road was removed in early spring, and was scheduled to be covered in new asphalt ahead of Memorial Day.

But other projects in the region forced Rose Brothers to put off the 5.9 mile section to Garrenton Road in Jarvisburg until right before the summer season.

That work is part of the contract that also repaved N.C. 168 from Barco to Currituck Courthouse, and will cost $1.1 million, according to Hass.

What’s known as an “open graded friction course” must be applied to the road, rather than just regular asphalt.

“The result is a decrease in hydroplaning and a noticeable reduction in the fine spray from other vehicles, increasing visibility,” Hass said.

That special mixture also requires an asphalt plant in Elizabeth City to be retooled and it can only be applied during certain times of year when air temperatures won’t cool off the mixture as its being transported.

So the work on U.S. 158 had to wait until the other projects were finished, and Rose Brothers could get the plant running and the right equipment and personnel in place for just this type of work.

A similar mixture of asphalt was applied in 2012 due to traction problems after a previous repaving of U.S. 158 between the Wright Memorial Bridge and N.C. 168 intersection in Barco.

It is intended to allow water to move to an underlying layer of asphalt and then travel along the slope of the road to run off on the shoulders.

But by 2013, the gravel-like substance started rubbing off in multiple locations.

Repairs to the outside, westbound lane made that year at the Buster Newbern Road intersection between Powells Point and Jarvisburg became surrounded by even longer and deeper ruts.

The entire five-lanes of U.S. 158 from Barco to near Poplar Branch was repaved in 2019 and the crumbling sections between Grandy and Point Harbor were also resurfaced. Last year, the intersection of U.S. 158 and N.C. 168 in Barco was resurfaced.

Barnhill Contracting will handle the Jarvisburg to Point Harbor project.

“Our engineers say they are going to try to get going as close to the beginning of April as possible to squeeze in between the warmer weather and the summer tourist season,” said NCDOT spokesperson Tim Hass.

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