Building The Wake Forest Bypass

By Christina Fisher | September 28, 2010

Barnhill Contracting Company is at work on the third and final section of the Wake Forest Bypass. The $11.5-million, 1.55-mile project runs from U.S. 1 west to N.C. 98/Durham Road. Additional work on the 11 tie-in roads, including realigning Falls of the Neuse Road and Old N.C. 98, adds about another mile to the project, which started in March 2008.

Initial work on the project included clearing the site, which is abutted by several residential areas, and installing erosion control. Barnhill has moved about 180,000 cubic meters of cut and fill so far. There are 235,000 cubic meters left to move, and 40,000 cubic meters will be brought in to finish the job.

According to Rodney Conner, project manager, 95 percent to 96 percent of the cut has been moved to the north end of the project. In addition, there is a 60-foot to 70-foot drop where the new road will be built to four lanes that will require about 46,000 cubic meters of dirt to fill. A future residential site adjacent to the project will be used as a “borrow” pit that will also benefit the developer, who needs the site leveled by 5 feet.

The job has been progressing as planned, and the only real challenge has been the dry dirt. “It's very dry dirt, even for clay,” says Conner. “To get your density you need to have the right moisture content. We've made 30-foot cuts and no water. We've had some problems achieving density, but once we got the water right there was no problem. We run water trucks to keep the dust down and the moisture up.”

Barnhill is also building a sound wall and adding dirt to an existing natural berm to insulate nearby homes from traffic noise.

Because the cut and fill work and rough grading continue, Barnhill will be unable to do lime stabilization on the main line and Old N.C. 98 this year. “We can't do lime stabilization after the end of October,” explains Conner. “According to the specs, you have to put stone down and seal it or place a layer of asphalt on it. That won't happen this year.”

Therefore, Barnhill will concentrate on the smaller tie-ins, finish cut and fill procedures, and complete the noise wall and most of the installation of the storm pipe and drainage. “We'll have everything ready when spring arrives,” says Conner. “Then we'll get the mainline phased in and get the traffic switched over.”

The project is scheduled for completion by June 2010.