11/13/09 — Officials: Bypass bridges coming

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Officials: Bypass bridges coming

By Steve Herring
Published in News on November 13, 2009 1:46 PM

Approximately 70 percent of the earth moving required for the first section of the new U.S. 70 Goldsboro Bypass has been completed and work is under way on 11 of the project's 16 bridges.

Also, at least for the moment, the project is slightly ahead of schedule, said Jerry Page, N.C. Department of Transportation division project manager.

"It is 5 to 6 percent ahead of schedule," Page said during Thursday's U.S. 70 Corridor Commission meeting at Walnut Creek. "What does that translate into time? It is hard to really say because things speed up and things slow down some."

It is the only section of the four planned that is currently funded.

"We have begun or purchased part of right of way on two of the pieces," he said.

The current section will cost roughly $50 million, and to do the other three pieces probably will run in excess of $200 million, Page said.

"That's not on our five-year work plan for Division 4 and even beyond the six and 10 years," he said. "We would have no idea where we would pull that money from because our whole (Division 4) allocation of equity money for the TIP (Transportation Improvement Plan) period was $325 million or so.

"Just to fund money for Goldsboro bypass we would have to take the money for the whole seven-year period for just that one project and we have to cover six counties."

Commission Chairman Tom Steepy of Carteret County said that provides a "real perspective" of a working project funded for a quarter of its cost, while the rest of its $200 million is totally unfunded and is 10 years out compared to one (road) that is "not even a line in the sand."

He added that state officials need to explain to residents who expect the work to be done why they are choosing to distribute funding in this manner -- and why the project is not just put down as a priority and finished.

The first of the four sections is being built from just west of Interstate 795 to just east of Wayne Memorial Drive. Work started Sept. 29 on the section being constructed by Barnhill Contracting Co. of Tarboro. The completion date is November 2011.

The other three phases are:

* Section A from existing U.S. 70 west of N.C. 581 to Interstate 795

* Section B from Wayne Memorial Drive and the new U.S. 70 Bypass to east of Parkstown Road

* Section C from east of Parkstown Road to U.S. 70 at Promise Lane Road near LaGrange.

The commission was updated on other projects including the square loop at the intersection of U.S. 70 and N.C. 55/11 at Kinston.

The plan calls for a N.C. 55/11 overpass over U.S. 70.

The squared loop would provide two means of access on and off of U.S. 70.

For example, traffic traveling east from Goldsboro would be able to exist to the right just prior to the overpass or just past the bridge. The same would be true for westbound traffic.

Traffic leaving Kinston for Goldsboro would exit N.C. 55/11 prior to the bridge.

The concept is to reduce the number of left turns.

The project is projected to cost between $16 million to $18 million. It is at least five years out and has yet to be funded.