11/13/11 — List of highway projects created for area

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List of highway projects created for area

By Steve Herring
Published in News on November 13, 2011 1:50 AM

Local highway projects totaling almost $462 million, including $206.8 million for a new U.S. 117 South, have been assigned ranking points by the Goldsboro Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Sidewalks along Royall Avenue and Wayne Memorial Drive, a paved shoulder along N.C. 581, and the extension of the multi-use trail on New Hope Road were among the local projects prioritized by the MPO

While all the projects carry estimated price tags, there is no guarantee of the work being done or even funded by the state. The local priorities are used by the Strategic Planning Office of Transpor-tation to guide development of the state's Transportation Improvement Plan.

In other business, the MPO adopted a resolution asking the state to name the section of Interstate 795 in Wayne County in honor of county Commissioner Andy Anderson and former congressman and Goldsboro attorney Martin Lancaster.

"Andy has been involved in this long before any of us," said Mayor Pro-Tem Chuck Allen, chairman of the MPO Technical Advisory Commit-tee. "He was working on it 30 years ago."

"He was way ahead of the game before (the highway) ever became official," said Dr. Sandra McCullen, TAC member and county commissioner.

Allen said Lancaster, while he was serving in Congress, was instrumental in securing the Interstate designation for what was originally U.S. 117.

"Economic development will tell you that without that (interstate) shield that it is hard to get attention," Allen said.

The resolution will be reviewed by a committee before being sent on to the full board possibly for its February meeting, Depart-ment of Transportation board member Gus Tulloss said.

In establishing the rankings for sidewalks, Mrs. McCullen said Royall Avenue appeared to warrant top ranking because of the volume of foot traffic.

Allen agreed.

The top five projects in descending order as approved by the MPO are:

* North side of Royall Avenue from William Street to Spence Avenue, $297,500

* Both sides of Wayne Memorial Drive from the U.S. 70 Bypass to Royall Avenue, $210,000

* South side of Harris Street from Slocumb Street to Stoney Creek Parkway, $140,000

* Both sides of Berkeley Boulevard from Ash Street to Elm Street, $85,000

* Both sides of Spence Avenue from U.S. 70 Bypass to Ash Street, $400,000.

The top five projects for bicycle/multi-use are:

* Multi-use path on New Hope Road from Hare Road to Wayne Memorial Drive, $510,000

* Multi-use path on New Hope Road from Wayne Memorial Drive to Patetown Road, $768,000

* Paved shoulder on Central Heights Road from Berkeley Boulevard to New Hope Road, $704,000

* Stripe for bike lane on Slocumb Street from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base to Ash Street, $54,000

* Paved shoulder on Wayne Memorial Drive from New Hope Road to Tommy's Road, $250,000.

Local top-ranked highway projects include:

* Improving existing U.S. 70 from east of Earl Drive to the Wayne/Johnston line to freeway standards, $69 million

* New interchange at U.S. 70 East and N.C. 111, $10.9 million

* Widening U.S. 13 to four lanes from Hood Swamp Road to Saulston Road, $10.4 million

* Widening Berkeley Boulevard from New Hope Road to Hood Swamp Road, $13.7 million

* Realignment of Royall Avenue and Central Heights Road, $8 million.

* New interchange at U.S. 70 East and Oak Forest Road, $10.5 million

* Widen to multi-lanes Wayne Memorial Drive from New Hope Road to the new U.S. 70 Bypass, $16.1 million

* Widen to multi-lanes New Hope Road from Wayne Memorial Drive to Miller's Chapel Road, $35 million

* Widen roadway and/or make safety improvement to U.S. 117 A from U.S. 70 Bypass to Fedelon Trail, $24 million.

The MPO also voted to encourage DOT to expedite the construction of several highways in eastern North Carolina, including a new U.S. 70 bypass of Kinston.

At their August meeting, MPO officials said a regional approach is needed for highway projects if eastern North Carolina is going to successfully compete with larger urban areas.

At that time, they suggested that the region select only a handful of projects instead of many different ones, even if the projects were not in Wayne County. The idea is that such an approach would enhance the possibility of the projects receiving state approval.

The MPO has joined a coalition of MPOs and Rural Planning Organizations that have united to identify what members are calling the region's most critical highway needs. The Eastern North Carolina MPO/RPO Coalition represents the 13 counties that make up North Carolina's Eastern Region. It includes the Goldsboro, Greenville and Jacksonville MPOs and the Down East, Eastern Carolina, Mid-East and Upper Coastal Plains RPOs.