Fort Bragg tunnel delays opening of Outer Loop

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- A project designed to ease traffic to and from Fort Bragg is now hitting a slowdown of its own.

The Department of Transportation told ABC11 that a small stretch of the 39-mile Outer Loop, that was set to open this month, won't open until late this year.

"In the middle of this project, we had to redesign a section of it to build a tunnel that would be only for Fort Bragg. That would not be for the public," said Andrew Barksdale, DOT Spokesman.

Originally, Fort Bragg eyed a bridge, but the cost was too high. Instead, the DOT went low and came up with a $2 million tunnel that would run underneath the highway.

"Years ago Fort Bagg asked us if we could accommodate their ability to move tanks around without having to go on surface streets," said Barksdale.

The tunnel will help more than the convoys. It will also ease congestion for civilians.

"It opens a lot of space so for like for us it saves us gas and it saves us time," said Bryan McLean.

The Department of Transportation has been working on the outer loop since 2005. The billion-dollar project is broken into four phases, all of which bypass city traffic and take drivers directly to Fort Bragg and I-95.

Staff Sgt. Khyler Powell told ABC11 that would save her about 15 minutes on her morning commute.

"It would be a lot quicker for me to get on post, because right now I have to wake up super early to get to Knox Gate so I can beat traffic. So it would be a great thing for us," Powell said.

All four phases of the project will be complete in 2023.
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