11/19/10 — MPO eyes plans for highway speedup

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MPO eyes plans for highway speedup

By Steve Herring
Published in News on November 19, 2010 1:46 PM

Brad Gurley said he is happy about the news that the U.S. 70 Bypass will be completed by 2016 even though it slices through his property.

"I can get my bags packed and get off the property any day," Gurley said during Thursday's meeting of the Goldsboro Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).

However, he said he is concerned that the notice to move might come during his company's busy time in the spring and his question to the MPO was how he could find out more about the timetable.

District engineer Tim Little suggested that Gurley contact the state's right-of-way division. Gurley said he had tried, but that the man he spoke with did not know that the bypass project had been moved up.

"He does now," Little said.

Jill Stark, of the Federal Highway Administration, told Gurley to contact her office and she would put him in touch with someone who could help answer his questions.

Gurley made his comments following a brief public hearing on funding for the bypass project. Prior to the hearing, MPO Technical Advisory Committee Chairman and Goldsboro Mayor Pro-Tem Chuck Allen told the few people attending that the hearing was on the funding and not on the design or route.

No one spoke during the hearing, which, like most of the MPO meeting, was devoted to housekeeping chores related to the accelerated bypass project.

That included updating the MPO's long-range transportation, transportation improvement and program of works plans.

Connie Price, chairman of the Technical Coordinating Committee --the staff arm of the MPO -- said that it had been recommended that the MPO expand the scope of its look at new interchanges for the bypass.

The Technical Coordinating Committee met prior to the Technical Advisory Committee.

The MPO originally allocated $100,000 to study the potential development impact at the U.S. 70 Bypass and Wayne Memorial Drive interchange.

However, because the project is slated for completion in six instead of 30 years, it was suggested that the study look at all of the interchanges, Price said.

Allen agreed that it was important to map out existing infrastructure and for the city and county to work together.

"This is a lot to do," he said.

Ann Learn asked about the timetable for the project.

The 3.3-mile Section BB east of Wayne Memorial Drive to west of Creek Road (Secondary Road 1714) carries a $49 million price tag - $10 million for right of way acquisition and $39 million for construction.

The 7.5-mile Section C west of Creek Road in Wayne County to east of Promise Land Road (Secondary Road 1323) in Lenoir County is expected to cost $57 million. Lenoir County is in Division 2.

Those two legs have been combined and are scheduled to be let for bid at a cost of $106 million in the fall of 2011.

The western-most Section A was already scheduled to be bid in the fall of 2012. The 5-mile stretch between N.C. 581 and Interstate 795 is expected to cost $73 million.

Work started Sept. 29, 2009, on the 4.2-mile, $65.3 million first leg of the project between Interstate 795 and Wayne Memorial Drive being constructed by Barnhill Contracting Co. of Tarboro.

It is scheduled to open to traffic Nov. 15, 2011.

Planning Board member Chris Cox who was in the audience asked what happened to allow the state to speed up the project.

He was told the state had additional monies and that the project would use a design-build concept that allows work to be under way even while right of way is still being acquired.

"That is just great," Cox said.

In a design/build project, a contractor teams up with an engineering firm and will be responsible for the entire project instead of stringing it out over several steps.

The MPO also adopted a resolution supporting the Strategic Highway Network connector for Seymour Johnson Air Force base.

The designation is 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.