09/01/04 — Counties try to shorten delays on U.S. 70

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Counties try to shorten delays on U.S. 70

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on September 1, 2004 1:59 PM

Counties along U.S. 70 East, including Wayne, are considering a proposal to spend their own money to push improvements for the highway.

An informal meeting of county officials in Kinston last week resulted in a proposal that each county budget $13,000 to $25,000 per year for a five-year period.

The collected money would be used to hire a consultant to push for improvements to U.S. 70. The goal would be a controlled-access freeway from Interstate 40 in Raleigh to the port in Morehead City.

Wayne County Commissioner Atlas Price hopes the counties will be able to get the highway improvements moving. "There's just no excuse for this being neglected for so long," he said.

The "U.S. 70 corridor counties" primarily include Johnston, Wayne, Lenoir, Craven and Carteret, although neighboring counties also have an interest. The Eastern Carolina Council of Governments has also been involved with recent discussions of the highway.

The new proposal would have the counties marshal their money to hire the consultant to work with the N.C. Department of Transportation on pushing the U.S. 70 work forward, Price said. That includes corridor protection, environmental studies and other preliminary work.

The consultant would also work with county and municipal governments along the route. They would need to consider the highway improvements in their own land-use, transportation and other plans, he said.

The proposal will be discussed at the Wayne County Transportation Committee's meeting Thursday, Sept. 9, beginning at 11:30 a.m. at Wilber's Barbecue on U.S. 70.

The corridor committees are next scheduled to meet Oct. 8 in Havelock.