ORRUM, N.C. (WBTW) — A $24.6 million contract has been awarded to upgrade a section of Highway 74 in southeastern North Carolina to interstate standards, according to the state Department of Transportation.

The project will combine two nearby Highway 74 intersections – N.C. 72 and N.C. 30 — into one route that will cross over U.S. 74 on a new bridge east of Orrum, NCDOT said.

Roundabouts will be built at each on/off ramp for the new interchange to improve safety by lowering the risk of serious crashes and reducing backups or engine idling associated with traffic lights or stop signs.

C.M. Lindsay & Sons Inc. of Lumberton can begin site-clearing work as early as April, NCDOT said. Construction is scheduled to be completed by the summer of 2026.

The project is one of several that are in the works to upgrade the corridor to interstate standards.

One involves the construction of an interchange in Boardman in nearby Columbus County that began in 2021 and is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2024.

Another project involves the conversion of a reduced-conflict intersection of Creek Road at Highway 74 northeast of Orrum into an overpass. However, construction is not scheduled to start until 2027.

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Dennis Bright is a digital producer at News13. Dennis is a West Virginia native and graduate of Marshall University. He has won copyediting and journalism awards in Virginia and Ohio. Follow Dennis on Twitter and read more of his work here.