10/31/10 — County will eye plans for U.S. 70

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County will eye plans for U.S. 70

By Steve Herring
Published in News on October 31, 2010 1:50 AM

Wayne County commissioners Tuesday morning will, for the second time in as many months, take up a priority list of proposed improvements along U.S. 70.

First discussed in September, the list was left to linger after the board failed to take any action on a request by the U.S. 70 Corridor Commission for its endorsement of the list even though the first phase already has been completed.

Commissioners will be briefed on the agenda at 8 a.m. in their boardroom on the fourth floor of the county courthouse annex. Their meeting will start at 9 a.m.

Also, a public hearing will be held at 9:15 a.m. on the county's new proposed schedule of values. Wayne will undergo revaluation of taxable property in 2012. The state requires a revaluation at least every eight years. Wayne's last revaluation was in 2003.

The schedules can be viewed in the county tax office on the first floor of the courthouse annex.

The U.S. 70 priority list was approved by the Wayne County Transportation Committee in August. There is no timetable for the work that is being done by the state Department of Transportation as funding becomes available.

The top priority, the Grantham Street ramps and closing access to Florida Street and the ramp to the state Highway Patrol Station, has been completed.

Other priorities in descending order are:

* Installing a median reverse leftover concurrent with driveway consolidation and parking circulation improvement near Wilber's Barbecue.

* Installing directional mainline leftover at Ebenezer Road/Capps Bridge.

* Installing new finding/directional signs and possibly a dedicated right turn prior to the intersection with William Street.

* Closing eastbound access to the service road east of William Street.

* Closing westbound access to the service road near the hotel site just east of the Pizza Inn on U.S. 70 West.

The Ebenezer Road/Capps Bridge project is the only one that falls under the county's jurisdiction.

During their September meeting, some board members appeared unaware of the access management plan even though it is six years old.

Commissioner Steve Keen, who also serves on the Planning Board, questioned the list's origin, the need for Planning Board review and for an economic impact study. Keen argued that roads have value to the economy and that the Planning Board should be aware of what is going on to be in a better position to respond to issues.

He broached the issue at the Planning Board's meeting held one week following the commissioners' meeting. Most of the comments were made by Keen and Planning Board member Chris Cox, who said he had never seen the list. However, according to county officials, the list has been circulated at several highway meetings that have been held in the county over the past several years.

Also on Tuesday, commissioners will consider membership in the North Carolina Eastern Region Military Growth Task Force. It was created in 2007 to address issues related to growth of the military presence in the region. The county currently has ex-officio status on the task force. Should the county decide to join, it would have five voting seats on its board of directors as well as a seat on the executive committee.