Work on final stretch of U.S. 158 pavement replacement project in Currituck ready to begin

Barnhill Contractor began staging equipment Friday in Point Harbor. [Sam Walker photo]

Equipment has been staged in preparation of the final section of U.S. 158 in lower Currituck to be resurfaced this spring, as removal of the old pavement from the Wright Memorial Bridge to Jarvisburg is ready to begin as soon as this week.

Once the weather warms, a new layer of asphalt will be installed to replace the crumbling roadway that has led to many cracked windshields and pockmarked front ends on vehicles over the last several years.

In 2021, 5.9 miles of Caratoke Highway from near Poplar Branch to Jarvisburg was resurfaced, after contractors repaved from the N.C. 168 intersection in Barco to Macedonia Church Road in 2019.

The final 10 miles from Garrenton Road in Jarvisburg to the bridge in Point Harbor will be resurfaced by Barnhill Contracting, using an “open graded friction course” rather than just regular asphalt.

That special mixture also requires an asphalt plant in the region to be retooled and it can only be applied during certain times of year when air temperatures won’t cool off the mixture as its being transported.

A similar mixture of asphalt was applied in 2012 due to traction problems after a previous repaving of U.S. 158 between the Wright Memorial Bridge and N.C. 168 intersection in Barco.

It is intended to allow water to move to an underlying layer of asphalt and then travel along the slope of the road to run off on the shoulders or into the curb-and-gutter structures in Grandy and Barco.

“The result is a decrease in hydroplaning and a noticeable reduction in the fine spray from other vehicles, increasing visibility,” said NCDOT spokesperson Tim Hass.

But by 2013, the gravel-like substance started rubbing off in multiple locations. A better mix and application process has since been developed since to make the surface more durable and less-likely to come loose.

Repairs to the outside, westbound lane made that year at the Buster Newbern Road intersection between Powells Point and Jarvisburg became surrounded by even longer and deeper ruts.

That required spot repairs over the last several years until the full resurfacing could be completed.

Once the final coat of pavement is placed and rumble strips will be installed along the center turn lane sometime this spring between Jarvisburg and the Wright Memorial Bridge, new pavement markings and reflectors will be installed from Poplar Branch to Point Harbor.