Early Route 50 Service Road Work Comes In Under Budget

SNOW HILL – The completed initial work on the Route 50 service road is a quarter of a million dollars under budget, Public Works Director John Tustin reported to the County Commissioners Tuesday.

Phase 1A, the beginning of the project, was finished earlier this year. The work cleaned up and straightened out the Holly Grove Rd. and Route 50 intersection and constructed turning lanes.

“We took that dangerous curve out and widened it up,” said Tustin.

The original cost of $1,357,703 fell to $1,101,005, saving $254,730, through a combination of small and large savings created by needing less materials. Less topsoil was needed than originally planned, for example, saving $27,923.

“When I rode through it looked good,” said Commission President Virgil Shockley. “Compared to what it was, it was a 100-percent improvement.”

“More than 100 percent,” said Commissioner Bud Church.

The next phase, construction of the first section of the service road from Holly Grove Rd. west to Wal-Mart and Home Depot, and then all the way to Route 589, must wait on right-of-way negotiations.

The county has three of the four easements needed, but not one crucial one, allowing the road to be built though a property lying between Holly Grove Rd. and the big box stores.

Tustin said the next step would be negotiations with the parcel owner over that easement.

“I hope to have construction started by next spring. That’d be great,” Tustin said later. “Still a lot of things up in the air.”

Construction at the big box store properties would be undertaken by site work contractors hired by the store, as they will already be on site for work on the new Wal-Mart. The county will pay for that work.

“We’ll have to negotiate those prices,” Tustin said. “We’ll know those prices before they start.”

The second phase of the service road will stretch from Route 589 west to Seahawk Rd. “We don’t know when phase II will start,” Tustin said.

Later in July, Tustin will bring further updates on the service road to the commissioners, specifically the design proposal for phase II.

The county took on the project itself after several attempts to get the state interested in the initiative as long ago as 2003.