NC DOT approves $1.4M bid for design of I-26/U.S. 74 interchange

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, June 21, 2017

COLUMBUS – The N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) is working quickly to get new ramps at the intersection of I-26 and U.S. 74 in Columbus.

The NCDOT recently approved an approximate $1.4 million bid to Parsons to design the new ramps as well as design part of a Hwy. 108 project.

“Parsons is pleased to announce that it has been selected by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to perform design services under a planning and design limited services contract for the I-26/US 74/NC 108 interchange improvements in Polk County, N.C.,” stated a press release sent by Parsons. “The project will provide ramp connections between westbound I-26 to eastbound US 74 and westbound US 74 to eastbound I26, as well as modernization of NC 108 from west of Old Highway 19 to the intersection of Walker Road in Columbus.”

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NCDOT’s Communications Officer for the Western Mountain Area David Uchiyama confirmed that the NCDOT approved Parsons’ bid and said the design from Parsons will include the new ramps at I-26 and U.S. 74 as well as part of the grand project of revamping Hwy. 108. Uchiyama said the state is no longer widening Hwy. 108 but will bring the road up to date, including repaving, improving curb and guttering and possibly other improvements that have not yet been decided. The Hwy. 108 project will include from the roundabout in Columbus to U.S. 176 in Tryon, as well as another project from the roundabouts to Walker Street (Houston Road) at the beginning of downtown Columbus. Neither of those projects will begin until after the I-26/U.S. 74 ramp project is complete, which is expected to be finished prior to the World Equestrian Games (WEG), scheduled for September 2018.

“We’re happy to have Parsons on board to do the design work on this project,” Uchiyama said, “which is going to help a whole lot of people, both now and for generations to come.”

Uchiyama also said the project is on schedule, with the construction bid expected to be approved in September this year.

Parsons said the project will provide ramp connections between westbound I-26 to eastbound U.S. 74 and westbound U.S. 74 to eastbound I-26, as well as modernization of N.C. 108 from west of Old Highway 19 to the intersection of Walker Road in Columbus.

The NCDOT is planning the new ramps between the two major routes to relieve congestion at the I-26/U.S. 74/Hwy. 108 interchange where interstate traffic is currently forced to exit the highway and travel through the roundabouts to enter U.S. 74 or I-26.

“Parsons will provide turnkey delivery on an accelerated schedule, which will improve safety and mobility,” said Mike Johnson, Parsons Group President. “We are excited to work with NCDOT on this project.”

Parsons will be responsible for the final designs, including National Environmental Policy Act documentation, as well as participation in public involvement activities, according to Parsons’ release.

Parsons is an engineering service firm out of Pasadena, Calif.

The total ramp project is estimated to cost $15,630,000, including $130,000 in right of way acquisition and $15.5 million in construction and engineering. No residences or businesses will be impacted by the project, only vacant land.

Right-of-way acquisitions are scheduled to begin in July with construction scheduled to begin in September 2017.