South of NC 68, US 220 is mostly a two-lane roadway. As part of a project that will build the 'NC 68-US 220 Connector' north of Greensboro (Project No. R-2413, see Segment 3 below), NCDOT is upgrading the current highway to a four-lane freeway for about 4 miles between the NC 68 intersection and the Connector to be built just south of the Haw River. Work on this segment, Contract R-2413C, started in May 20121 (delayed from 2010) and planned to have the route complete by December 27, 2016, however from the start the work has fallen significantly behind the proposed completion schedule. As of June 15, 2017 the project was listed as 75.7% complete, far behind a schedule that would have completed it by the end of 2016.2 To illustrate the slow progress rate, in July 2013, nearly 3 1/2 years ago, the project was 21.5% complete.3 In August 2015, NCDOT finally admitted the project would not be completed on time and pushed completion back to June 19, 2017.2 In June 2016, the completion date was pushed back again to January 25, 2018.2 Complicating factors was a decision by NCDOT to change the plans at the northern end of the project from a re-worked intersection with NC 68 that included a traffic signal to a more complicated flyover ramp for US 220 South to cross over NC 68. NCDOT held a public meeting to inform the public in January 2014 from which planners were to resubmit the design for the interchange.4 NCDOT then decided to let this as a separate project, Contract C203645 awarded on June 16, 2015. Construction started on Sept. 16, 2015 and, as of June 7, 2017 was 72.2% complete (this project is also going slow, it's supposed to be 91.0% complete by that time though).5 The project plans, released on May 19, 2015, reveal the following design for the new interchange (based on other contract documents, the number for the NC 68 exit will be 123, while the NC 65 exit will be 122):
Contributor Strider sent me these photos of the hard copy plans he has of future exit signs along this Segment, heading North to South:6
Plans for exit and gore signs for NC 68 interchange on I-73 South.
Plans for exit signs for US 158 and NC 65 along I-73/US 220 North. Since there is no exit to NC 68 South northbound, traffic is told to use NC 65.
Plans for US 158 Exit Sign, as noted in the plans, the current exit sign will not be replaced, just a new exit tab will be placed on top.
1/2 mile advance signage for US 220 exit on I-73 South near the Haw River, note I-73 pull through for Airport traffic.
Plans for signage at the US 220 exit, current US 220 traffic is using the future 2-lane off-ramp as the route for through traffic.
Future Exit 119: I-73 and US 220 partial interchange: Construction is
largely complete, I-73 lanes though graded, require pavement. As you
drive on US 220 south and go over the future I-73 mainline lanes, you
can easily spot NC 150 if you look to the right.
Future Exit 120 I-73 and US 158 interchange: They are working on grading the northbound lanes of I-73 and the US 158 off ramp from I-73. They also are putting up stoplights at the end of the ramp from I-73 to US 158 on both sides.
Future Exit 122: I-73 and NC 65 interchange: The interchange is 3/4 complete, because the bridge is complete, but traffic have not been rerouted to the bridge. They are still working on grading the southbound lanes of I-73 and the off ramp to NC 65 just north of the interchange.
Future Exit 123: I-73 and NC 68 partial interchange:(1/4 complete) They are almost finished with building the bridge supporters, so a few things they need to do is: 1. put the bridge deck, 2. finish grading I-73 southbound lanes north and south of the bridge, and 3. reconnect NC 68 northbound lane to I-73/US 220 lanes... it seems like they are working on relocating the future northbound ramp a little west to the current temporary US 220 lanes.20
The NC 68 project was awarded on July 7, 2015 to Branch Highways Inc. out of Roanoke, VA for $14 million.7 The total cost for the entire project (right-of-way and construction) is now budgeted at around $223 million.8 Initially, the roadway was not to be built to Interstate standards, but only at a 60 MPH limited access highway. However, this changed when the Connector project to the south was advanced to be completed around the same time both segment are now to be signed as I-73, with a 65 MPH speed limit, when completed.9,10
The US 220 South ramp from I-73 South will be a flyover bridge that will go both over the Haw River and then over I-73 to its current alignment (for a link to the plans see Segment 3, below). Work to complete this flyover was completed during the fall of 2014 and US 220 traffic was rerouted onto it (see photos below). The US 220 project was to be mostly completed before work on the Connector to NC 68 was finished, however with the current delays, this might not happen since the Connector work is to be completed by April 2017. (For an NCDOT diagram of the entire project go to the Project page.)
US 220 South at Beginning of Construction Zone: Just South of NC 68 Intersection
US 220 South at NC 65: On
Future I-73 NB Roadway
US 220 North at US 158: On
Future I-73 SB Roadway at US 158 On-Ramp
US 220 North at Future I-73 South Interchange: On
Future US 220 South Ramp
Looking north toward the end of NC 68 showing completed future I-73/US 220 South bridge over roadway and future NC 68 South off-ramp.
View from US 220 South approaching current NC 68 intersection showing nearly completed ramp towards the I-73/US 220 flyover bridge.
Closer view of new I-73/US 220 South ramp bridge over NC 68 showing progress in completing landscaping and guardrail work.
View from future northbound lanes looking south toward future US 158 interchange showing progress in paving future I-73 southbound lanes now flanked by sound walls.
View from US 220 South closer to US 158 showing progress in completing the connection between the new southbound lanes and the existing roadway.
View further south on US 220 approaching the future I-73 interchange showing median guardrails are being installed but that line painting is still needed for future northbound lanes.
Another view closer to the interchange showing the progress installing the median guardrails.
View from US 220 North on Future I-73 Southbound lanes facing toward the US 158 interchange showing the paved Future I-73 Northbound lanes awaiting lane striping.
View from US 220 North showing end of completed I-73 Southbound lanes and traffic shifting to existing US 220 roadway while remaining south I-73 lanes are constructed.
Looking at paving taking place for Future I-73 South lanes from US 220 North. I-73 North lanes will use existing US 220 roadbed but will need to be rebuilt to Interstate standards after southbound lanes are completed and traffic shifted over.
View from US 220 North of sound walls being built along Future I-73 Southbound lanes approaching interchange with NC 68.
Looking north along US 220 approaching the future NC 68 interchange, and what will be the temporary end of I-73 North showing work continuing on building future I-73 South lanes and completed new bridge over NC 68.
Closer view of completed bridge that will take I-73/US 220 South over NC 68.
Looking south on US 220 after NC 68 intersection showing work grading future I-73 South lanes, complicated by need to cut down small hill seen in the distance.
At the southern end of the segment, looking south on the completed I-73 southbound lanes approaching the future I-73/US 220 interchange by the Haw River.
A closer look at the interchange, showing most of the work is complete, the only thing needed are to paint the northbound lanes, re-stripe the south lanes, and add exit signage.
View from US 220 North facing facing the US 158 interchange showing that the I-73 Northbound lanes are complete and paved. The off ramp to US 158 is also paved (out of frame).
View continuing north on US 220 past US 158 showing the southbound lanes of I-73 being prepared to be paved. Farther north near the NC 65 bridge, the road is paved. (NC 65 bridge is still not open despite it being fully paved).
Closer look on US 220 North of US 158 showing the southbound I-73 lanes being prepared for pavement.
On US 220 North approaching future NC 68 interchange. In the distance, the future I-73 southbound lanes are being paved. However, to the immediate left beyond the jersey barrier the road is not even graded yet.
View of complete bridge at the NC 68 interchange that will take I-73/US 220 traffic over NC 68.
Looking south on US 220 toward the NC 68 interchange showing that US 220 is now the through route. The approaches to the bridge for Future I-73 South are still under construction.
Looking south at the future I-73/US 220 interchange and the bridges over the Haw River showing that the future lanes are paved and ready for a line painting.
View from US 220 North facing I-73 north partial interchange (Exit 119), the northbound lanes of US 220 are already paved while the I-73 lanes are in process of being paved as well.
View driving further north on US 220 near US 158 interchange (Exit 120). You can see I-73 northbound lanes are in process of being paved.
Heading north past the US 158 interchange, showing the future southbound lanes are being paved.
Here's a closer look past the US 158 interchange, they finally have begun doing work on the future I-73 southbound lanes.
Driving south on US 220, approaching the future I-73/US 220/NC 68 interchange (Exit 123), the bridge is halfway complete and the roadway approaches to the bridge is already graded.
A closer look at the future I-73/US 220/NC 68 interchange (Exit 123) showing the graded future roadway and the future I-73 bridge.
At the other end of the project, looking at the Future I-73/US 220 interchange (Exit 119). You can see the pavement on US 220 north coming down to I-73, and the I-73 lanes are being paved.
Bridge supports being placed at site of future NC 68/I-73 Interchange.
Looking north from the Deboe Road overpass, showing I-73 lanes being graded. The trucks are carrying dirt to just near the US 220 interchange to fill up a small valley between Deboe Road and the US 220 bridge.
Here's the view south from the Deboe Road bridge showing progress in grading toward the NC 150 interchange.
From Deboe Road looking north toward the US 220 South bridge over the future I-73 lanes in the distance.
View of NC 150 near the future I-73 interchange. The ramps for the interchange are being graded.
View of NC 150 bridge over future I-73, the overpass is halfway done. The ramps on the other side have also been graded (not pictured).
Future I-73 at the Brookbank Road overpass. The overpass is now 1/2 complete. The approaches to the bridge are already graded. You can also see I-73 lanes are being paved in the distance.
I-73 lanes facing south from Brookbank Road. The southbound bridge is nearly complete, but work has yet to start on the overpass for northbound lanes. You you also see the grading for both north and southbound lanes prior to the bridge.
The completed Bunch road overpass and I-73. The approaches to the bridge are already paved. The bridge was opened to traffic the next week.
View from US 220 South overpass, facing I-73 lanes to the south, showing the lanes are being paved, dirt is also being taken to fill a small valley beyond.
A closer view of the image above showing the progress in the preliminary paving of the future I-73 lanes.
Looking south from Bunch Rd. The bridge is behind the photo, but you can see the pavement far away, mostly graded roadway stops short of where photo taken until the bridge is finished.
The Bunch Rd. overpass over I-73, nearly finished except for the bridge parapets. The approach roads to the new overpass are already graded (not paved yet).
Future I-73 Roadbed at Brookbank Rd. facing north. They have not started building the overpass (the approach roads are already graded, as are the I-73 lanes).
Facing south along I-73 Roadbed from Brookbank Rd. The southbound bridge over Reddy Fork River near completion in distance, work at the northbound bridge has not started.
View at Future NC 150 interchange (Exit 116) of work on building the overpass over I-73 looking north. The on and off ramps are already graded (not paved). The completed Deboe Rd. Bridge is seen in the distance.
I-73 Roadbed at Future NC 150 interchange facing south with I-73 roadbed being graded heading towards Brookbank Rd.
View from completed Deboe Rd. bridge, facing south towards NC 150 showing grading progress on I-73 roadbed, NC 150 bridge construction in distance.
View from completed Deboe Rd. Bridge facing north with work started on removing the detour alignment that is no longer needed. The roadbed curves to the left in the distance towards the future US 220 interchange.
Looking east along recently completed realigned Alcorn Road and bridge over future I-73 roadway.
Now looking west along completed Alcorn Road bridge and connecting roadway over future I-73.
View of future I-73/NC 150 interchange area looking north showing clearing and early grading in the area.
Another view of the NC 150 interchange area, looking south along the future I-73 roadway.
View along future I-73 roadbed south of Alcorn Rd bridge, headed toward NC 68.
Almost complete Alcorn Road bridge crosses wet and muddy future I-73 roadbed between NC 68 and NC 150.
View of center support of future Bunch Rd bridge over I-73, looking north toward NC 150.
Looking south across Bunch Road showing clearing and grading of future I-73 roadway heading back toward Alcorn Rd.
View from NC 150 at site of future I-73 interchange. Grading is for new section of road needed to take traffic around future bridge construction.
Looking north from NC 150 showing progress in grading I-73 roadbed, the Deboe Street bridge is in the distance.
Looking north from Deboe Road which is halfway between NC 150 and US 220 showing progress in clearing and grading the future I-73 roadbed.
Looking south from Deboe Road at future bridge over I-73 being constructed.
Looking south from Bookbank Rd at future I-73 Roadbed, in distance are twin bridges under construction over the Reddy Fork River.
Looking north from Bookbank Road at future I-73 roadbed, this section has only recently started serious construction.
Looking south from Alcorn Road along I-73 roadbed heading toward NC 68 bridge.
Looking further north along the graded roadbed for Future I-73 from Alcorn Road.
Looking south of Alcorn Road and the clearing for I-73 heading back toward NC 68. Alcorn Road will be go over I-73 here.
View north of Alcorn Road showing clearing of roadbed heading toward NC 150 and several idle construction vehicles.
Looking south of Bunch Road and the progress of clearing the land for the future I-73 freeway near Summerfield.
View south of NC 150 (Oak Ridge Rd) and the extensive clearing be made for future interchange with I-73.
If anyone has any other photos to share of the construction going on for either of these segments, feel free to E-mail me.