05/18/08 — Commission to hear comments on U.S. 70 plans

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Commission to hear comments on U.S. 70 plans

By Steve Herring
Published in News on May 18, 2008 2:01 AM

There is going to be a northern U.S. 70 bypass around Goldsboro and now is the time for county residents to have their say about the proposed highway as well as the fate of the existing one, Wayne County Manager Lee Smith said.

Residents will have the opportunity to do just that during a Thursday work session at the Wayne Center, 208 W. Chestnut St.

The session, to be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m., is being sponsored by the U.S. Corridor Commission.

The commission, of which Smith is a member, is made up of officials from the counties along the U.S. 70 corridor. The purpose of the Thursday session is to let people know what is going on, Smith said.

Sign-in and orientation will be from 5:30 to 6 p.m. During that time, residents will receive work session materials and sign up to receive future updates. Persons may also view U.S. 70 access management and freeway work maps and speak to commission members.

An overview and question-and-answer question will follow at 6 p.m.

The final portion of the session for public input is scheduled to last from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Smith said the session won't just deal with the proposed new highway. It will also include proposed retrofits to the existing highway.

He said one report predicts that within 10-15 years, traffic on both the old and new highways will be about the same because of growth.

"U.S. 70 is dangerous," he added. "We have got to make U.S. 70 safe."

As an example, he pointed to Beston Road near Walnut Creek. He said that some people had wanted a stoplight there, but the state decided on a different approach for turning traffic.

Prior to the change, there were 30 accidents including one fatality at the intersection. There have been no accidents since the improvements were made, he said.

Smith noted that there are already 70 stoplights along U.S. 70 between Clayton and the coast.

"They slow down travel, and that is one thing that industry looks at," he said.

He ecnouraged residents to come have their say.

"If you have an interest in U.S. 70 you need to be there (at the work session)," he said. "Let us know if you like something (about the plan). If you don't like something say why.

"It is just not about Goldsboro, it is from county line to county line. Go to the meeting and voice your concerns. If you don't like something we need to know. We need to know what the people think."

Smith said public input helps commission members find "balance" in their views and efforts on the project.