11/17/10 — MPO will talk about changes required for U.S. 70

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MPO will talk about changes required for U.S. 70

By Steve Herring
Published in News on November 17, 2010 1:46 PM

The state Department of Transportation's decision last month to complete the U.S. 70 Goldsboro Bypass within six years instead of in two decades or longer is forcing the Goldsboro Metropolitan Planning Organization to rethink many of its plans and timetables.

And when the MPO meets this Thursday, most of the session will be devoted to those tasks including a 10 a.m. public hearing on funding for the bypass.

DOT Division 4 Board member Gus Tulloss will attend the meeting.

Also on the agenda are discussion on the feasibility of increasing the speed limit on U.S. 117 south of the Wayne County Fairgrounds and adoption of a resolution supporting the Strategic Highway Network connector for Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

The MPO consists of two committees -- the Technical Coordinating Committee, which acts as the staff, and the Technical Advisory Committee which is the decision-making arm.

The Technical Coordinating Committee, chaired by County Planner Connie Price, will meet at 9 a.m. followed by the Technical Advisory Committee, chaired by Goldsboro Mayor Pro Tem Chuck Allen, at 10 a.m. in the upstairs anteroom at Historic City Hall.

Both committees will consider a number of amendments related to the accelerated U.S. 70 Bypass. Those will include changes to the MPO's long-range transportation, transportation improvement and program of work plans and its public participation policy.

Price has asked that the higher speed limit be discussed for U.S. 117 South.

Price said he thought about the increase after traveling on a limited-access highway similar to U.S. 117 South that had a 60 mph speed limit. The current speed limit is 55 mph on that section of U.S. 117 South

A similar speed limit might make sense for U.S. 117 South, he said.

Price said the section of highway he is looking at extends south, from where U.S. 117 Alternate splits to the east of U.S. 117 South, all the way to Interstate 40 in Duplin County.

The Technical Advisory Committee would have to make the recommendation for the increased speed limit. It would have to be approved by DOT.

The Strategic Highway Network is a designation given to roads that provide "defense access, continuity, and emergency capabilities for movements of personnel and equipment in both peace and war."

It includes routes for long-distance travel and connectors to connect individual installations to the routes.

The connector route provided by the federal government leaves the Slocumb Street Gate and follows Slocumb Street to Westbrook Road to Arrington Bridge Road and then on to U.S. 117 to U.S. 70.

The designation allows the city to receive additional funding for maintenance of the streets.

Also on Thursday's agenda are discussion of:

* MPO conference location ad dates

* Scheduling a planning retreat for the two committees

* Establishing 2011 meetings

* Land use plan update.