05/11/07 — Corridor will get new look from leaders

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Corridor will get new look from leaders

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on May 11, 2007 1:45 PM

The U.S. 70 corridor was once again the main topic of conversation during the Wayne County Transportation Committee's meeting Thursday.

With the U.S. 70 Corridor Commission beginning its second year, Wayne County Manager Lee Smith said all of the counties and cities involved, including Wayne, Lenoir, Jones, Craven and Carteret, will study the latest access management study to improve zoning and land-use measures throughout the corridor.

The commission was formed to develop "one vision, one voice" along the corridor to make improvements to the existing U.S. 70 and to plan for future bypasses around the major municipalities along the highway.

The purpose behind the access management study, Smith said, is to ensure each government along the corridor creates similar policies to protect the corridor and prevent any construction from impeding the commission's goals.

To ensure all local governments and residents along U.S. 70 are familiar with those goals, Smith said the commission will hold two summits this fall, possibly in Kinston and Morehead City. Those summits will involve regional planning organizations, city councils, county boards, engineers and transportation officials to study all documents to date.

The second half of each summit will be dedicated to allowing the public to see the commission's plans and to provide input on the transportation hurdles each area along the corridor face, Smith said.

The commission is also planning to implement another spot safety improvement, or pilot project, somewhere along the corridor. The most recent involved the construction of a directional crossover at the intersection of U.S. 70 and Beston Road outside of Goldsboro.

Although the construction was met with opposition by nearby residents, Smith said it is natural for people to be wary of change. Any future spot safety improvement to the corridor will be decided by the commission so the organization shows it "is willing to put money into a project to prove a point on (U.S.) 70," Smith said.

In other business, Tim Little, a division engineer with the North Carolina Department of Transporta-tion, said funding should be secured by this fall to begin construction on a traffic signal at the intersection of Country Day and Patetown roads.

Wayne Planning Director Connie Price told committee members that the county's comprehensive land use plan should be presented to the county commissioners by June or July. The land use plan, which has been developed over the past year and a half, focuses on improvements to all facets of Wayne's infrastructure. The entire plan is available online at www.waynegov.com.