04/24/05 — Goldsboro presents 'wish list' to DOT

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Goldsboro presents 'wish list' to DOT

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on April 24, 2005 2:01 AM

Goldsboro's road planners tentatively approved on Thursday its 2005-06 project priorities for the N.C. Department of Transporta-tion.

But some believe this year's wish list is more "wish" than usual.

DOT is now operating under a funding formula that penalizes parts of the state that have reportedly received more than their share in the past. One of those is Division 4, which includes Wayne County.

"Unless the (N.C.) General Assembly changes its mind, we're not going to get any more money until 2012, other than what has already been allocated," said Goldsboro Councilman Chuck Allen.

That makes some long-delayed projects, such as U.S. 70's Goldsboro bypass and a computerized traffic signal system in the city, long shots.

Still, the Goldsboro Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization has set 10 priorities for next year with hopes of getting into DOT's planning.

The most-desired project is a bridge and cloverleaf intersection of the new U.S. 117 over Ash Street Extension (N.C. 581), near Cherry Hospital. The intersection is being built at grade and will have a stoplight when the bypass opens next year.

Allen, chairman of the MPO's transportation advisory committee, has some hope that DOT will find money for the project.

"It's going to be a real mess out there, a travesty," he said. "Once somebody at DOT see what's going to happen, we'll get something done."

The second priority is the U.S. 70 bypass, which will begin around N.C. 581, west of Goldsboro, and reunite with U.S. 70 Business in Lenoir County. Local planners hope to see at least the first segment, which would connect to U.S. 117, built soon.

Another goal is U.S. 117 South, basically building another bypass from N.C. 581 to connect back with U.S. 117 near the Wayne County fairgrounds. But the environmental permits needed to cross the Neuse River are expected to delay the project for many years.

Other priorities are:

*Computerizing and synchronizing Goldsboro's traffic signals to improve traffic flow.

*Widening of Berkeley Boulevard (U.S. 13) from Royall Avenue to the Wayne County line.

*Improvements to U.S. 117, between U.S. 70 and Belfast.

*Widening Wayne Memorial Drive, from New Hope Lane past the proposed U.S. 70 Bypass overpass.

*Widening New Hope Road, from Central Heights Road to Millers Chapel Road.

*Widening Ash Street, from Berkeley Boulevard to U.S. 70.

*Improving Royall Avenue, from Wayne Memorial Drive to Central Heights Road.

The priority list is not due to the state until the fall. The Wayne County Transportation Committee will review it at its next meeting.

The Goldsboro MPO covers about 45 percent of Wayne County. The remainder of the county is represented in a rural planning organization with three other counties. The MPO and RPO generally work together but submit separate lists of priorities for DOT to consider.