03/04/05 — $1 million earmarked for U.S. 70 bypass

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$1 million earmarked for U.S. 70 bypass

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on March 4, 2005 2:03 PM

The federal government will contribute $1 million to help defray the cost of building a new U.S. 70 bypass in Wayne County, if a highway funding bill is approved by Congress.

First District Rep. G.K. Butterfield announced the possible funding this week, part of $16 million being made available for highway projects in eastern North Carolina.

The state already has allocated $15 million toward the project, that is expected to cost $221 million to complete.

"This will be a good example of how improving infrastructure can spur economic development," Butterfield said in a press release.

Another $1 million is being set aside for the City of Wilson. A $32.9 million northern loop around the city is planned to reduce traffic congestion.

The money is part of the House reauthorization of the Transportation Equity Act. Although the bill still needs approval by the House and Senate, as well as the signature of President Bush, Butterfield said he believes it will become law by the end of the year.

"Strengthening eastern North Carolina's infrastructure is vitally important to attracting businesses, creating jobs and retaining and growing our existing businesses," said Butterfield.

Other projects that would be helped by the bill include:

*$6.3 million for improvements and the redevelopment of downtown Rocky Mount.

*$3.5 million for buses and a new intermodal transportation center in Greenville.

*$640,000 to convert 7.3 miles of old railroad beds into bicycle and pedestrian paths in Elizabeth City.

*$1.5 million for developing a two-mile road parallel to I-95 in Roanoke Rapids that would allow for development of industrial land that is currently inaccessible.

*$1 million for paving and bridge rehabilitation of I-85 in Vance County

*$960,000 to widen Beckford Drive in Henderson.