MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Beginning Monday, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune will begin its next road construction project by repaving more than seven miles of a heavily-trafficked road that spans from Autumn Circle near the generals’ quarters to Sneads Ferry Road.
The project is scheduled to last until March, weather permitting. It will be broken up into three phases, and the project, depending on what side of the Wallace Creek Bridge commuters drive, will be closely coordinated to minimize traffic impacts to both morning and afternoon commuters that use Seth Williams and McHugh Boulevards.
The repaving is routine maintenance work to maintain the serviceability of the base roads well into the future, said Navy Cmdr. Marc Delao, the commanding officer for Officer in Charge of Construction, Public Works Division, Marine Corps Installations East.
“If you don’t maintain the roads now, then you’ll have to do extensive repairs in the future,” said Delao. “It’s like maintaining your car, you can pay a bit now, or a whole lot more later.”
During phase one, the Onslow Grading and Paving construction company will begin the $1.5-million project by sealing cracks in the road and mill patching, which involves filling potholes, from Jan. 9 to Jan. 20.
Phase two is a lengthier process. On Jan. 23, construction workers will begin repaving from Autumn Circle, which connects to Seth Williams Boulevard, all the way to the Wallace Creek Bridge, before it turns into McHugh Boulevard.
Maintenance of the northwest side of the Wallace Creek Bridge will take place during the day, as it does not see much traffic. However, it will turn into a single-lane road, with construction flagmen ensuring continual traffic flow.
On the opposite side of the bridge, the repaving will be conducted at night, which will leave both lanes open during the day. The Holcomb traffic circle will be untouched during this process.
Clayton New, the Seth Williams-McHugh Boulevard construction manager with OICC, PWD, MCIEAST, said the construction was planned that way to avoid massive traffic delays.
“We planned on doing it this way because the (southeast) side is the most heavily trafficked,” said New. “When rush hour begins to die off around 6 p.m., we will begin repaving the road up until about 5 a.m. the next morning.”
Base officials want to stress that not all plans are executed according to schedule when it comes to construction, especially when dealing with the roads.
“We want to emphasize that if the weather allows us to repave, we will get it done on time,” said New. “But, if it’s too cold, especially this time of year, it could possibly delay the process.”
Last winter, weather conditions were below freezing, which for North Carolina is unseasonable. This year, the unusual warm air is conducive for paving operations.
“We have to have at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit uninterrupted to complete this on time,” New added. “If it drops below that, we have to cease operations until the temperature climbs back up.”
In addition, the workers will restore the shoulders on the road, plant grass seed and paint markers once the construction is completed.
Delao wants to emphasize safety during this three-month long process, especially when there are no markers on the road.
“When the road is being paved, the markings on the road will be temporarily gone,” said Delao. “Marines, sailors and civilians need to be especially careful when they are walking across the street as cross walks will not be painted until the end of the project.”
Service members and civilians will see a myriad of projects spring up during the New Year, as previously programmed money is utilized.
“When the Marine Corps was growing the force, more Marines came to the base – very quickly,” said Delao. “(Though), it’s quicker to bring people into the service, but the money for the projects takes a little bit longer. Once the money came in, we acted immediately.”
Other projects the OICC plans on starting in the near future include the extension of Gonzalez Boulevard, which will provide easier access to the newly-constructed barracks near Sneads Ferry Road; installing heating, ventilation and air conditioning into the Goettge Memorial Field House, which will be closed until early October and major upgrades to Louis Road, which includes utility improvements and road widening in support of increased traffic projections due to the new main gate access road.
For continuing construction updates, go to www.lejeune.usmc.mil.