01/21/08 — NCDOT rejects request for signs for city

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NCDOT rejects request for signs for city

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on January 21, 2008 2:07 PM

After spending the last few months looking at the number and location of signs directing travelers toward Goldsboro and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, state Department of Transportation officials have decided -- at least for now -- that there are enough.

The study was done at the request of state Sen. John Kerr, D-Wayne. It's also an issue that city officials and Troy Pate, chairman of the Seymour Support Council, have long urged DOT to address.

"I was trying to get people to know where Goldsboro is," Kerr said about his request.

The concern is that compared to other cities, Goldsboro is under-represented at the interchanges of I-95 and I-795/U.S. 264 in Wilson County, I-95 and U.S. 13 in Sampson County, I-95 and U.S. 70 in Johnston County, I-40 and U.S. 117 in Sampson County and on U.S. 70 West from Kinston.

Ron King, state signing engineer for DOT, however, said the study found that sufficient signing exists for a city of Goldsboro's size.

"They are all signed for Goldsboro," he said. "I don't recommend any additional signage at those particular interchanges."

The only additions that are expected are at the new interchange of I-40 and U.S. 70 once the so-called Clayton bypass opens, and as all the signage on I-795 is upgraded to reflect that road's new status.

King also explained that he wasn't recommending any new signs for Seymour Johnson outside DOT's regulation 15-mile rural limit for traffic generators of its size.

Pate had explained that he was hoping for the additional signs in order to help direct airmen and other visitors traveling to Goldsboro.

"It's good advertisement for us. Seymour is a crown jewel," he said.

But, King said: "We're hoping that people looking for Seymour Johnson, they will drive to Goldsboro first and then once in Goldsboro, they will see signs for Seymour Johnson.

"It's just too far out (from those interchanges) for our signing practices."

It is, said City Planning Director Randy Gutherie, a disappointing decision.

"Obviously we're disappointed the study did not identify the need for any additional signs, but the city will continue to work with DOT to find ways to promote Goldsboro and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base," he said.

Kerr said he also would continue to push for additional signs.

One of the ways the city and DOT will be working together is to place new "Welcome to Goldsboro: Home of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base" signs on northbound U.S. 117 and southbound I-795 so that travelers know when they've reached the city limits.

Gutherie expects those to be up "very soon."

"Goldsboro is doing a lot to market Goldsboro, and the make it more visible we can make it, the more accessible we can make it, and the better off we're going to be," City Manager Joe Huffman added.