03/12/04 — Is US 70 being neglected?

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Is US 70 being neglected?

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on March 12, 2004 2:05 PM

Members of the Wayne County Transportation Committee worried Thursday that bypass projects for U.S. 70 are not getting the attention they deserve from the state or locally.

Goldsboro businessman Dave Quick said other highways in eastern North Carolina have had much more vocal supporters and have gotten needed improvements. Meanwhile, work has been stalled on a U.S. 70 bypass.

But other committee members said progress is being made.

Goldsboro and Wayne County governments have the best relationship they've had in years with the N.C. Department of Transportation, said Goldsboro Councilman Chuck Allen. That will help in getting U.S. 70 projects funded.

At the luncheon meeting Thursday at Wilber's Barbecue, Quick started the conversation with his concern that a group in Carteret County is dropping its support of a U.S. 70 bypass. Counties along the highway have joined together over the years to try to push the bypass projects forward.

Some at the coast are now promoting a new route from Raleigh to Morehead City -- U.S. 264 to Washington, then U.S. 17 to New Bern, Quick said. It's 30 miles longer than following U.S. 70, but it can be a quicker trip because of all the stoplights on U.S. 70.

Others are encouraging motorists to follow Interstate 40 as far south as possible and then follow state roads to cut over to U.S. 70.

Either way, beach traffic would be detoured away from Wayne County, Quick said. "I'm worried that Goldsboro is becoming the hole in the doughnut."

Other highway projects on U.S. 64, U.S. 264 and U.S. 24 have vocal supporters in Raleigh, but U.S. 70 has lacked a unified voice, said Nancy Stallings of the Global TransPark. "Things are happening or not happening because we don't have anyone focusing on our needs."

But Allen disagreed. Goldsboro officials have regularly stayed in contact with DOT employees about U.S. 70 and are working to speed up work to connect the new U.S. 117 to the future Goldsboro bypass on U.S. 70, he said.

"We're working hard and staying after them," Allen said.

He praised the work of N.C. Sen. John Kerr to hurry along the Clayton bypass on U.S. 70, which would help all county residents who work in Raleigh or Research Triangle Park.

The Wayne County Transportation Committee is a county committee but includes representatives of the city, towns, chambers of commerce, business and other officials. Its agenda can cover any issue related to transportation, and past meetings have covered roads, airports, rail and safety projects.