02/04/13 — Commissioners to hear Mount Olive highway needs

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Commissioners to hear Mount Olive highway needs

By Steve Herring
Published in News on February 4, 2013 1:46 PM

Mount Olive's long-range transportation plan, which, among other things, calls for upgrading U.S. 117 to freeway status, will be presented to Wayne County commissioners at their meeting Tuesday.

The presentation will be made by Carlos Moya and James Upchurch of the Transportation Planning Branch of the state Department of Transportation. Both assisted the town's Transportation Planning Committee over the past year in looking at Mount Olive's comprehensive transportation needs.

Tuesday's meeting will begin with an agenda briefing at 8 a.m. followed by the regular session at 9 a.m. in the commissioners' meeting room on the fourth floor of the county courthouse annex.

While the study addresses a variety of issues and needs, a good portion of the plan is concerned with improvements to U.S. 117 that include:

* Realigning the Old Smith Chapel Road with an interchange at U.S. 117 and connecting the road to County Road

* Closing the existing Old Smith Chapel Road and Lee's Country Club Road intersections with U.S. 117

* Extending Baker Chapel Church Road to U.S. 117 Alternate with an overpass at U.S. 117

* Constructing a service road to connect West Main Street with Old Smith Chapel Road on the west side of U.S. 117.

Many of the plan's proposals complement the long-range goal that the state will extend Interstate 795 from Goldsboro to Interstate 40 in Duplin County.

The projects in the Mount Olive plan, as well as an ongoing study of building an interchange at the U.S. 117 and O'Berry Road intersection at Dudley, would help in that goal. It would do so by eliminating at-grade intersections from the U.S. 117 and U.S. 117 Alternate intersection just south of the Wayne County Fairgrounds all the way to south of Mount Olive.

The Mount Olive plan also looks at possible bicycle routes, including connections to Goldsboro and possibly Warsaw in Duplin County, and a greenway along Indian Springs Road to the Cliffs of the Neuse State Park near Seven Springs.

A 30-day public review began this month and will be followed up on in March when the project adoption process will begin.

The projects have not been adopted by the state and no funding has been approved.

Also on Tuesday's agenda:

* Commissioners will have a special recognition for the late J.D. Evans, a longtime commissioner who died in December.

* Officials with Geographic Technologies Group will make a presentation on the company's 311 GIS program that allows citizens to report non-emergency requests about problems, issues or concerns in the community.

* The board will consider applications for present use value and property tax exemptions.

* Commissioners have been asked to approve a resolution to allow the Rosewood Volunteer Fire Department to refinance up to a $478,000 loan for equipment.

* The board will consider a resolution supporting the legislative goals adopted by the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners. The top five goals are to: Oppose the shift of state transportation responsibilities to counties, reinstate ADM and lottery funds for school construction, oppose unfunded mandates and shifts of state responsibilities to counties, ensure adequate mental health funding, and preserve the existing local revenue base.

* Wayne County Veterans and Patriots Coalition president Bill Graham will make a presentation on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. The coalition will host the Wall April 18-21.