11/29/06 — Roadwork planned for county

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Roadwork planned for county

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on November 29, 2006 1:46 PM

Although the North Carolina Department of Transportation has cut back funding for or delayed several road projects in the past year due to budget concerns, several Wayne County projects are going ahead as planned, officials said.

A resurfacing package is being worked on across the county. Typically, contractors or transportation department employees are given a resurfacing package for several roads and have until the next July to finish them, NCDOT Division 4 project manager Jerry Page said. The most recent package includes 14.5 miles of secondary roads in Wayne County.

Although contractors will temporarily halt those projects beginning in mid-December due to weather conditions, Page said each project should be completed by July 2007.

Parkstown Road, which is located in the eastern part of Wayne County in the Saulston Township, is scheduled to be resurfaced from Mark Edwards Road to Beston Road. The package also includes resurfacing Old Kenly Road from Main Street to Nahunta School Road in the northwestern section of Wayne. Church Street from Lane Mill Road to the eastern city limits of Eureka will also be improved.

Other secondary roads that connect to major thoroughfares in Wayne County are also scheduled for improvements. New Hope Road from N.C. 111 to U.S. 13 is included in the package. A section of New Hope Road between Central Heights Road and Berkeley Boulevard is also being widened to a three-lane section, Page said.

The widening project began two weeks ago and should be finished in about two weeks, NCDOT District 3 Engineer Tim Little said. But the completion of the entire project could be delayed because of weather conditions.

"After we widen it, we have to overlay the whole section. That's really dependent on the weather because you can't lay asphalt when it's cold or wet. If we get a couple of good days, we can finish it," Little said. "If not, we'll have to wait until the spring."

Resurfacing will also take place on Rosewood Road from Oakland Church Road to N.C. 581. The last secondary road in the package is Nahunta School Road from Hooks Road to U.S. 117.

The transportation department is also in the process of constructing a projected $300,000 directional crossover at the intersection of U.S. 70 and Beston Road, which is considered one of the most accident-prone intersections along the entire U.S. 70 corridor.

More than 50,000 cars drive through that area each day. That kind of automobile volume has contributed to the increase in accidents, officials said. There were 17 accidents at the intersection between 2001 and 2004.

Officials believe the amount of accidents is due to the number of "conflict points," or places in the intersection where the movement of vehicles is most likely to cause a collision. The existing U.S. 70 and Beston Road intersection has 32 such points. The construction of a directional crossover would limit that number to four.

A directional crossover is designed to control which way drivers turn at an intersection. For example, if an eastbound driver on the four-lane reaches a major intersection, that driver could turn left off the four-lane onto a side road. But a driver coming from the side road could not turn left onto the four-lane. A concrete barrier would force the driver to turn right until he or she reaches a left-turn lane where he or she could make a U-turn. An existing example in Wayne County is at the intersection of Piney Grove Church Road and U.S. 70 East. Transportation officials expect the project to be done within a month.

Although it hasn't begun yet, drivers can also expect to see a left-turn lane and traffic signal on U.S. 13 South at its intersection with Hood Swamp Road. Page said funding has just been received for the project, but construction details have not been finalized. When construction does begin, most likely in the spring, it should take about a month to complete, Little said.

Other projects in the planning process include two restoration projects in Mount Olive and a bicycle path in Goldsboro.

Mount Olive Town Administrator Charles Brown said the town has received about $100,000 in grants through the help of NCDOT and the N.C. Historical Society to restore the Mount Olive Railroad Depot.

"Because of its historical significance, we really felt this was important," Brown said.

The building will be renovated and include heating and air conditioning, Brown said. It will serve the public for family gatherings, as another town polling location and as a meeting place for local organizations. The first phase of construction, which will include renovating and repainting the building, should take about a year, Brown said.

The other Mount Olive project would expand Northwest Center Street from James and John streets by eight feet. In that section of Northwest Center Street, Brown said residents can park in diagonal parking spaces on one side of the street and parallel park on the other side. This causes a safety issue for emergency vehicles to pass -- especially fire trucks.

With eight additional feet, emergency vehicles will have better access, Brown said. The project is expected to cost $500,000, and the town has grant funding available, but officials are waiting for approval from the N.C. Historical Society before construction begins.

One of the improvements planned for Goldsboro is constructing a bicycle path along Parkway Drive. That project is only in the planning stages, but Goldsboro and transportation officials are working together to begin the project soon, Page said.

Residents can report any road maintenance issues to transportation officials through the department's Web site at www.ncdot.org.