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WHITEVILLE – A major route in Whiteville will be widened and improved with raised medians, sidewalks, roundabouts and enhanced traffic signals.

J.K. Powell Boulevard (U.S. 701 Bypass) between north of its interchange with U.S. 74/76 and West Virgil Street will be upgraded, thanks to a $28.2 million contract awarded last week by the N.C. Department of Transportation.

This 2-mile section of the boulevard will be widened to four travel lanes (two in each direction), and some new turn lanes will be added. The project also will include the construction of a raised median, which will safely redirect drivers from side streets and business driveways into turning right. The design, known as a reduced-conflict intersection, decreases the risk of crashes, particularly serious or fatal ones.

Traffic lights at Burkhead Street, Washington Street and Smyrna Road will be upgraded with marked crosswalks and pedestrian signals to improve safety. The traffic signal at West Virgil Street will be relocated one block north at Columbus Street to improve overall access on this important gateway to downtown.

Highland Paving Co. LLC of Fayetteville is expected to begin construction this fall after all utility relocations are completed. The project is under contract to be completed by the summer of 2025.

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