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Company Lands $225M In Road Contracts, Including Military Cutoff Extension

By Cece Nunn, posted Dec 14, 2017
Balfour Beatty Infrastructure used a work trestle to cross environmentally-sensitive areas of the Cape Fear River and wetlands while working on part of the Interstate 140 bypass. (Courtesy of Balfour Beatty)
A global company whose Southeastern U.S. office is based in Wilmington recently landed nearly $225 million in state road contracts, including the Military Cutoff Road extension project.

Balfour Beatty Infrastructure expects to begin work on the Military Cutoff extension project, and also start the design process for the Fayetteville Outer Loop, in January. For the Fayetteville project, which came with a $129.7 million design-build contract, Balfour Beatty is working with joint venture partner Branch Civil Inc., and the joint venture partnership chose STV Engineers Inc. out of Charlotte as its design engineer.

"It's a big deal for us," said Mark Johnnie, vice president of Balfour Beatty's Southeast Region, referring to both contracts that were officially awarded by the N.C. Department of Transportation on Dec. 5. "It's really important for us because a large number of our employees are in Wilmington or live in this area. It means they don't have to move and relocate ... It sustains our workforce and keeps our local workforce very busy for the next few years, which is really good news."

The Balfour Beatty contract for the Military Cutoff extension project, for which the NCDOT has been acquiring properties in the past two years, is worth $95 million. The project extends Military Cutoff Road from Market Street to the U.S. 17 Wilmington Bypass in New Hanover County and is expected to be complete in about three years. 

"You'll probably see the dust flying pretty close after Jan. 2, and we'll be able to go right to work," Johnnie said.

The contracts awarded Dec. 5 are just the latest of numerous projects Balfour Beatty has undertaken in Southeastern North Carolina and beyond. 

A London company, Balfour Beatty's U.S. headquarters is in Atlanta and its Southeastern U.S. region office has been in Wilmington for the past 15 years. Since 2002, Balfour Beatty’s Wilmington-based team has undertaken 25 completed and in-progress civil infrastructure projects with a total value of $1.1 billion, company officials said.

Recently in the area, the firm has been working on a portion of the Interstate 140 bypass, involving a $124 million contract. A ribbon-cutting for the long-awaited bypass is expected to take place Friday.

Smith Creek Parkway was Balfour's first Wilmington project. The company is also building the new Surf City bridge. 

Balfour Beatty has 310 employees in Wilmington.

"We do anticipate other projects coming up in the area. I don't know that we'll always be fortunate to have them this close to Wilmington," Johnnie said. "Our area ranges from Virginia all the way to Florida. As construction goes, I'm sure we'll be hopping around all those other areas and municipalities, but anything that comes up in North Carolina or in the Wilmington area, we'll definitely be pursuing. 

"This has been home for us for 15 years, and hopefully it's home for us for much longer than that."
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