Fort Bragg closer to closing road

FORT BRAGG Construction trucks have begun to clear the way for the new Interstate 295.

When completed, it will connect Murchison Road to Bragg Boulevard near the entrance to Fort Bragg.

"By doing this piece of the outer loop, once Murchison Road is widened and this part of the outer loop is paved, then that will allow the closure of Bragg Boulevard." construction engineer Tracey Pittman said.

The I-295 project will impact a number of the residents that live in city councilman D.J. Haire's fourth district.

"The urgency is now," Haire said. "Let's don't wait when I-295 is completed."

Haire said he believed new businesses would spring up along Murchison Road and residents who live in communities near the new interstate would have to deal with increased traffic.

"Let's talk about crime, let's talk about improving, let's talk about creating new community watch groups," Haire said. "If we have existing community watch groups, what can we do to enhance them?"

Leaders said $48 million of the $53 million project comes from federal stimulus money.

Pittman said that part of the road will be completed in two phases.

"The first phase will be let in September and that will involve the outer loop to Honeycutt Road where we'll actually do the widening there and build the interchange with Honeycutt Road," Pittman said. "The remainder of the project up towards Spring Lake will come later as funding is available."

Money is an issue, but Pittman said the second phase of the project doesn't have to be completed before Bragg Boulevard can be closed.

A section of the project is scheduled to be completed by 2012.

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