05/06/05 — Bridge at new 117 and Ash a top priority

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Bridge at new 117 and Ash a top priority

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on May 6, 2005 1:52 PM

City and county officials agreed Thursday on a proposed list of local road projects -- except for one county commissioner.

County Commissioner Andy Anderson disagreed with making the construction of a bridge and cloverleaf intersection as the No. 1 priority on the list.

The proposed bridge and intersection would be at the intersection of the new U.S. 117 over Ash Street Extension near Cherry Hospital. The intersection is being built at grade and will have a stoplight when the bypass opens next year.

Anderson said he didn't disagree that the bridge and cloverleaf project should be on the list, but he didn't think it should be the top priority.

He said that an interchange was initially planned at that intersection, but was removed from the plans because the exact route of the highway was unknown.

He said that the DOT still hadn't made the highway plan final.

"If we build it now, we're trapped for future construction," Anderson said. "I don't think we should build it until the total 117 South route is decided."

Goldsboro City Councilman Chuck Allen said the decision not to build an interchange at that spot was "asinine."

"Y'all made a bad mistake," he said.

Allen said that the situation needs to be corrected as quickly as possible because it is going to create a "log jam and cause accidents."

"No one in Goldsboro wants to wait 25 years to get it fixed," Allen said. "The highway shouldn't have been opened without it."

Anderson said the original plan called for an interchange and "should have had it except for the city of Goldsboro taking it out."

"I agree it should be on the list, but the priority should be lower," Anderson said. "Get the major arteries done first."

Kurt Freitag, a DOT engineer, said that the bridge and cloverleaf would cost about $2 million.

"You could probably get this done quicker than some other projects," Freitag said.

No one seconded Anderson's motion to move the project down on the list. The committee did add one of Anderson's suggestions to the priority list regarding improvements to Buck Swamp Road.

The second priority on the list is the new U.S. 70 bypass, which will run from the current intersection with N.C. 581 west of Goldsboro to the Lenoir County line.

Another priority 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.

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.