Local/State

Bragg gateway ahead of schedule

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Work on the new interstate that will connect Bragg Boulevard to Murchison Road in Fayetteville is ahead of schedule.

That's great news for Fort Bragg leaders anxious to close Bragg Boulevard for security reasons.

Although crews are almost two years from closing Bragg Blvd., you can see the shape of the road changing. When the work is complete, the boulevard will close and Murchison will be the new gateway to Ft. Bragg.

As Interstate 295 comes to life, Murchison Road is being widened. For the past several weeks, dump trucks have made almost non-stop deliveries of dirt, creating a huge mountain near Honeycutt and Murchison roads.

"There will be an overpass," explained Randy Wise, project engineer. "Murchison Road will overpass on Honeycutt Road, and there will be an interchange with ramps at that location."

Just south of Gruber Road, the Murch, as it is known, is taking on a whole new look.

"What you see as you travel up Murchison Road is the actual interchange with Murchison Road and the Fayetteville Outer Loop," Wise said. "Part of the structure -- the bridge that you see being built -- is part of the interchange. It will be the ramp onto Murchison as you're going north."

Fort Bragg leaders say the project is critical to post security. Right now, Bragg Blvd. divides the Garrison portion of the post in half. The new I-295 will allow Bragg Blvd. to be shut down, making the Murchison road bypass the new gateway to Fort Bragg.

"Traffic, if it wants to get to Fayetteville all the way up to Spring Lake, will take the Murchison bypass," Garrison Commander Col. Stephen Sicinski said. "And even though it's going to be about a half of mile longer in distance, a lot of folks will actually gain time. Gain about five minutes of transit because there will be no lights."

Right now, Fort Bragg is the only major military installation in the country not directly connected to an interstate system.

The new I-295 will change that and change the way soldiers head to war.

"So, when you have to deploy a Brigade Combat Team with its equipment, its equipment will have to actually get to a port," Sicinski explained. "And the only way to get to a port now is by convoying through small town America before it can actually hit I-95."

Part of the project is scheduled to be complete in July 2012, but eventually the Murchison bypass will connect the All American Freeway with Interstate 95.

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Tags:
cumberland county, fort bragg, transportation, local/state, gilbert baez
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