ASHEBORO — Several buildings along the right-of-way of a North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) project will be demolished before scheduled construction begins in June 2023.
The project to rework the interchange that over I-73-74 that includes both US 64 and NC 49 highways is designed to:
- Widen US 64 Business to multi lanes from I-73/74 to the western end of the US 64 Bypass.
- Reconstruct the interchange with NC 49.
- Modify the interchange of US 64 Business with I-73/74.
- Replace the NC 49 bridge over US 64 Business.
According to Bill Scholl, who works with the Right-of-Way Department of NCDOT in Pinehurst, there are five buildings that have been purchased that will need to be demolished. That includes the Quality Inn motel and adjacent office building on Albemarle Road. The Rodeway Inn next door is not affected by the DOT project.
Scholl said that in light of recent problems at the motel, including drug usage and fires at the site, the process of demolition is being expedited. But that includes checking the buildings for asbestos, a carcinogenic material which requires special protocols for removal before demolition. He said demolition should be completed in a month or two.
The motel was built in 1966 as a Holiday Inn and has had a number of name changes over the years. The office building where visitors checked in was built in 1974 and once included a restaurant.
Along with the Quality Inn, the Randco service station to the west is scheduled for removal as well. It sold gasoline and provided auto service for several decades.
Among the other properties to be demolished, on the list that Scholl provided, is the strip mall on Shana Lane. It was built in 1997 and has up to 11 units, all of which will be removed.
Other properties scheduled for demolition are buildings at 175 NC 49 South and 153 NC 49 South. Those were owned by New Home Design Center.
“We’re trying to get (the demolitions) done as quickly as possible,” Scholl said. “There are only a few outstanding claims (for right-of-way) remaining, maybe three left.” He didn’t say if those remaining properties required demolition.
Scholl said relocation of utilities, including power lines and underground cables and pipes, have begun. Lee Electric has started the relocation work for Randolph Electric Membership Corporation. That work is expected to be completed in April 2023.
The next phase of the project is to let bids for construction, which is scheduled for June 2023. Construction is expected to take two years.
A major focus of the project, besides multi-laning US 64 Business, is modifying the interchange of US 64 Business with I-73/74. Now a cloverleaf design with four loops for entering and exiting the interstate, the changes will eliminate the two entrance loops for both northbound and southbound traffic.
In their place will be service roads connecting Albemarle Road with Dixie Drive. Travelers exiting the interstate from both the north and the south will be able to turn on either Albemarle Road or Dixie Drive. The service roads will also lead back to the new interstate northbound and southbound entrance ramps.
The new design will eliminate the close proximity of the current entrance and exit ramps.
A potential problem with the widening of US 64 Business came up during a public meeting held by the NCDOT in 2018. Westside Fire Department, located on Westside Circle, would have had to turn right on the new multi-lane highway even when going to an emergency to the left. Then the trucks would take a special lane and make a U-turn back onto the westbound lanes.
Scholl said the plans have been modified to allow fire trucks to cross the median and go left during emergencies. According to a note on the official plans for the project, engineers are instructed to “Install depressed concrete island for emergency vehicles.”