08/18/04 — Consultants reveal $467 million transportation plan

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Consultants reveal $467 million transportation plan

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on August 18, 2004 2:07 PM

Local transportation officials got their first glimpse Thursday at a plan that maps out road improvements until 2030.

Mike Rutkowski and Roger Henderson, engineers from the Raleigh consulting firm Kimley-Horne, were hired last year by Goldsboro to prepare the federally mandated long-range transportation plan for the Goldsboro Metropolitan Area. The area includes the city and areas north and east to the county line.

The old plan, drafted in 1996, recommended many five-lane road sections, and would cost $493 million to be spent over 19 years.

In the new plan, many of these sections have been enhanced to reflect four lanes with a landscaped median. The new plan will cost $476 million, over a 25-year period.

Rutkowski said that the widening projects would allow the city and county to keep up with growth and would also solve congestion problems.

Five-lane roads often encourage extensive curb cuts, which in addition to being unattractive pose a safety hazard because of the multiple turning points. A four-lane divided highway with restricted turning areas reduces those problems, Rutkowski said.

Four major road projects were eliminated from the new plan for environmental reasons. Those projects were: The NC 581 extension between Old Smithfield Road and U.S. 117; the Stoney Creek Parkway extension between Harris and Slocumb streets; the Westbrook Road extension between Arrington Bridge Road and Genoa Road, and the Pecan Road extension between the Old Mount Olive Highway and U.S. 13.

Many of the projects listed in the plan will serve the new U.S. 70 and U.S. 117 bypasses by improving the roads that connect to them.

County Commissioner Andy Anderson wanted the consultants to explain the completion of the U.S. 117 Bypass.

"How do we get there from here?" Anderson said. "That's what I'd like you to explain to the other commissioners."

Rutkowski replied that a lot of work had been done, but that local officials needed to keep the momentum going because there were still hurdles ahead.

"You'll have to be a lobbyist to the DOT and to private industries," Rutkowski said.

DOT engineer Kurt Freitag said that a feasibility study had provided some direction for the bypass, but that the city and county needed to stay proactive in its planning efforts.

"Don't allow anything to interfere," Freitag said.

The plan was presented Thursday to members of the Transportation Advisory Committee and the Technical Coordinating Committee, which are composed of Goldsboro and Wayne County officials and representatives from Walnut Creek and the state Transportation Department.

Some of the projects expected to be completed by 2015 include:

*Widening a 1.6 mile stretch of road north of the proposed U.S. 70 Bypass to Green Drive from two lanes to four lanes, and widening Green Drive to New Hope Road from three to four lanes.

*Widening Wayne Memorial Drive, from Stoney Creek Church Road to Tommy's Road, from a two-lane road to a four-lane road with a median.

*Widening Tommy's Road to New Hope Road from two lanes to five lanes.

*The Buck Swamp Road Extension to U.S. 117 will go from a two-lane road to a three-lane road.

Some of the projects expected to be completed by 2030 include:

*A five-mile stretch on Arrington Bridge Road, from Westbrook Road to U.S. 111, will be widened from a two-lane to a three-lane road.

*Westbrook Road to U.S. 117 will go from two lanes to a four-lane road with a median.

*Ash Street, from Old Smithfield Road to the U.S. 117 Bypass, will widen from a two-lane to a four-lane road with a median.

*From the existing U.S. 117 Bypass to George Street, Ash Street will be widened from three lanes to five lanes.

*Ash Street, from Berkeley Boulevard to the U.S. 70 Bypass, will be widened from three lanes to four lanes with a median.