02/02/04 — Royall project falls through

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Royall project falls through

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on February 2, 2004 2:02 PM

Goldsboro's plan to extend Royall Avenue has been derailed by a breakdown in right-of-way talks with a railroad company.

The extension would have made an ordinary four-way intersection of the congested offset intersection on North Berkeley Boulevard. It was part of a bigger plan to widen Berkeley north of the Martin Luther King Freeway.

City Manager Richard Slozak said that the city was unable to come to an acceptable agreement with the CSX railroad to extend Royall to Central Heights Road.

"That project is dead," he said, adding that, "We will widen Berkeley Boulevard at Royall Avenue to New Hope Road."

It's still possible that Royall Avenue may be widened from Berkeley Boulevard to Jefferson Street because the state transportation department is working on that project.

State studies are under way for that project, but any extension of Royall across Berkeley is not in the plans, says Slozak.

The city discussed its plans with the railroad company to extend Royall Avenue for more than a year.

The railroad track runs alongside Royall. CSX was concerned about its right-of-way on Royall Avenue and on a proposed railroad crossing on the new part of Oak Forest Road, Slozak said.

The plan was to put the new part of Royall Avenue from Berkeley to Central Heights, extending across where the Happy Store is. That would have only eliminated eight or 10 feet from the right-of-way. The railroad thought that the extension might prohibit it from putting in a second line, and it was concerned about the closeness of the road, Slozak said.

Because it was a switching yard, the railroad company was worried about train delays and traffic problems.

The railroad company told the city that a bridge would need to be installed at that crossing, but Slozak said that would have cost the city around $4 million.

Eventually there were no more alternatives to be discussed, Slozak said, and the talks stopped.

"The city will go ahead with widening Berkeley, but not Royall," Slozak said. "The money we were going to use to widen Royall will be used for city street resurfacing projects because that needs to be done."