By SHAUN SAVARESE
Of The Record Staff
Orange cones, orange lights and road crews in orange vests locked up the median and two lanes of U.S. 421 in Buies Creek as Johnson Brothers Utility & Paving Co. began milling the highway as part of its multi-million dollar resurfacing contract with the N.C. Department of Transportation.
Traffic was measurably slowed at Leslie Campbell Avenue while the Lillington contractor peeled up and shredded several inches of asphalt to be recycled. The work is part of a $3.86 million agreement with the Department of Transportation for work to be done on 18.11 miles of regional road.
NCDOT hired Johnson Brothers in the fall, contracting the paving company to resurface around 10 miles of U.S. 421 between N.C. 210 in Lillington and N.C. 55 in Erwin. Expected to finish by Aug. 31, Johnson Brothers will also be resurfacing, milling, widening and paving 1.5 miles of Oak Grove Church Road, 4.6 miles of Johnston County road and on N.C. 42.
Most recently, the highway in front of the School of Osteopathic Medicine was being milled and recycled. Milling is the process of removing at least part of a paved surface. Sources confirmed that milling has just begun and U.S. 421 will still have to be paved.
In 2016, the intersection of U.S. 421 and Leslie Campbell Avenue averaged 16,000 vehicles a day. Local NCDOT Public Relations Officer Andrew Barksdale said that amount of traffic is neither high nor low and called the resurfacing project normally scheduled maintenance.