12/14/11 — Highway projects to be pushed back

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Highway projects to be pushed back

By Steve Herring
Published in News on December 14, 2011 1:46 PM

Safety improvements at two U.S. 117 intersections in southern Wayne County and a third project at the U.S. 70 West intersection with Ebenezer Church and Capps Bridge roads have been pushed back a year.

The delays were approved earlier this month by the state Board of Transportation.

Plans originally called for the removal of the traffic light at the U.S. 117 South and O'Berry Road intersection at Dudley as part of major hazard elimination projects there and at the highway's intersection with Country Club Road just north of Mount Olive.

However, state officials decided to delay the project to provide more time to complete the plans.

Work on the U.S. 70 intersection with Ebenezer Church and Capps Bridge roads was delayed in order for the state to acquire right of way for the safety improvements that are expected to cost $1,450,000.

The Mount Olive project will cost $650,000 and the one in Dudley $675,000.

The Dudley stoplight is the only traffic light on U.S. 117 between Interstate 40 in Duplin County and the Wayne County Fairgrounds at Genoa.

Once it is removed the existing crossover there and at Country Club Road would be replaced by mainline directional left-overs with U-turns on U.S. 117 approximately 1,000 feet north and south of both intersections.

The changes would mean that traffic on O'Berry Road and Country Club Road would no longer be able to directly cross U.S. 117.

For example, traffic traveling east on O'Berry Road toward Dudley would have to turn right on U.S. 117 South, then make a U-turn back onto U.S. 117 North and back to O'Berry Road to turn right toward Dudley.

Left-turn lanes, separated from the intersection by traffic islands, would funnel left-turning traffic on U.S. 117 onto O'Berry Road.

Bulb-outs would be added across U.S. 117 from the U-turn lanes. Bulb-outs are semi-circular indentions and would provide enough space so that even larger vehicles, such as tractor-trailers, would be able to make the U-turns safely.

Traffic islands and signs would direct the traffic flow.

The state began looking at the two intersections after a 2009 fatality at the Country Club Road intersection when a vehicle on Country Club Road pulled into the path of a vehicle on U.S. 117 South.

The state Transportation Improvement Plan does not mention specifics for the U.S, 70 project, but a mainline directional left-over has been discussed for that intersection as well.