Repairs finally made to U.S. 158 in Currituck

By on June 4, 2013

RPC Contracting crews were repaving the Barco intersection on Tuesday afternoon (Sam Walker).

RPC Contracting crews were repaving the Barco intersection on Tuesday afternoon (Sam Walker).

Long-delayed work was finally done Tuesday on parts of U.S. 158 in Currituck County where problems had developed after last year’s repaving project.

The top layer of asphalt, known as “friction course,” had rubbed off the base pavement in part of the Barco intersection and at other locations not long after the project was finished in the fall of 2012.

Large ruts developed in the southbound lanes approaching the intersection of N.C. 168 and U.S. 158, and the westbound U.S. 158 lanes heading toward Elizabeth City.

The ruts expanded over the winter and spring as hundreds of thousands of vehicles crossed the busy intersection.

As traffic turns at the intersection on to Shortcut Road toward Elizabeth City, the gravel- like substance had also worn away from the base layer in the center of the intersection, piling up on each side of the travel lanes.

A similar problem also cropped up in the northbound lanes between the Knapp Memorial Bridge and Currituck High School, and at the intersection of Buster Newbern Road.

Daniel Ots, assistant resident engineer for the NCDOT Elizabeth City construction office, said the department and RPC Contracting of Kitty Hawk were immediately aware of the problem when it started in November and worked out the details on how to fix it and who will pay for it.

“They have taken full responsibility for the problems and are ready to get it fixed,” Ots said in an April interview with the Voice. “This will be a major repair.”

RPC crews spent Monday milling down the effected areas, then reapplied the friction course in the affected areas on Tuesday.

The total project cost $13.4 million and involved removing the old asphalt and applying a new base layer and friction course from Barco to the Wright Memorial Bridge in Point Harbor.

“The friction course allows the water to go down through the asphalt, down to the underlying layer,” Ots said. “Once it gets down to that layer, it will travel along the slope of the road until it runs off on the shoulders.”

The original plan was to make the repairs before Memorial Day weekend, but the cooler-than- normal spring pushed the schedule back.

“The friction course has certain air temperature constraints,” said Ots. “It is difficult to work with.”

When the final layer of asphalt was being laid at the Barco intersection, traffic trying to turn west on U.S. 158 towards Elizabeth City was detoured to Barco Road, which is less than a mile farther north.

But a number of travelers ignored the barrels placed in the lanes, and drove over the hot asphalt almost as it was being applied.

On Tuesday, numerous barrels and more signs were in place to direct motorists trying to turn left on U.S. 158 to a detour along Barco Road.

Some drivers insisted on trying to make the turn at the intersection even as asphalt trucks were dumping their loads into the pavers, and the giant rollers were smoothing it out.

A few who wanted to turn left decided to make a u-turn in the parking lot of the adjacent 7-11, and insisted on trying to turn right from the southbound lanes.

But RPC and NCDOT crews were able to keep them off the hot asphalt and force them to continue south, and eventually follow the detour.

It didn’t take long for the asphalt to be ready for traffic.

The barrels were all gone and traffic was flowing through the intersection as normal during the evening commute.

On Wednesday morning, workers returned to pave the lanes traveling towards Elizabeth City from the intersection, and later in the day were making spot repairs to small sections in Coinjock.




County Dare, North Carolina
Dare County Tourism Board

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Visitors Bureau will hold a public meeting to review the plans for an Outer Banks Event Center. The meeting will take place on Monday, June 6, 2022 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the Keeper’s Galley building at Haven on the Banks, 115 Dove Street, Nags Head North Carolina 27959.

Still in the conceptual phase, the Event Center is intended to provide suitable and flexible space for year-round events, concerts, sports, meetings, smaller tradeshows, galas and any number of other uses. Learn more about the benefits for visitors and residents and how the Event Center is planned to complement the new Soundside boardwalk that is being designed.

Staff will be on hand to answer any questions. For additional information, please visit our Event Center FAQ page.


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