11/17/13 — Officials want highway project ideas

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Officials want highway project ideas

By Steve Herring
Published in News on November 17, 2013 1:50 AM

For the next 30 days, the public will have the opportunity to suggest transportation projects it would like to see included on the Goldsboro Metropolitan Transportation Organization's priority needs list.

MPOs are created by the federal government and charged with transportation planning. They do not have any authority beyond planning.

The Goldsboro MPO includes the city and much of central Wayne County, including the Walnut Creek and Pikeville areas.

The MPO currently has 14 projects on its highway priority list. However, changes to how the state will prioritize projects and funding is requiring that both MPOs and Rural Planning Organizations draft new needs lists for highway, bicycle/multiuse facilities and pedestrian projects.

The Goldsboro MPO has 30 days to prepare its new list, which is expected to include most of the projects on the existing list.

Both the MPO Technical Communicating Committee (staff) and Technical Advisory Committee (decision-making board) reviewed the current projects Thursday.

One new project that was suggested at the MPO meeting was to improve Ash Street from U.S. 117 to the Old Smithfield Road. The improvements could help handle increased traffic to the new Cherry Hospital, members said.

Four projects were recommended for removal from the list.

Goldsboro senior planner Jennifer Collins presented the project list.

The first is the widening to three lanes of North William Street (U.S. 117) from the U.S.117/U.S. 70 Bypass to Belfast Road. Department of Transportation district engineer Chris Pendergraph told MPO members that he has a verbal commitment for funding to do the work and expects it in writing soon.

Two of the other projects are related -- interchanges on U.S. 70 East at Oak Forest Road and at N.C. 111.

Traffic on U.S. 70 is expected to drop once the new U.S. 70 Bypass opens, Mrs. Collins said. She suggested waiting on those until the bypass opens.

The fourth project is the realignment of Cuyler Best Road, which has no specific value, she said.

The other projects are:

* Widening Wayne Memorial Drive between New Hope Road and the new U.S. 70 Bypass

* Widening North Berkeley Boulevard between New Hope Road and Hood Swamp Road

* Widening U.S. 13 North between Hood Swamp and Saulston roads

* Realigning Central Heights Road at Royall Avenue

* Widening New Hope Road between Wayne Memorial Drive and Millers Chapel Road

* Upgrade Ash Street (U.S. 70 Business) from Berkeley Boulevard to existing U.S. 70 Bypass

* U.S. 117 from N.C. 55 north to include a new relocation south of U.S. 70 including an interchange at N.C. 581 (Ash Street) and designation as Interstate 795

* Interchange at U.S. 117 South and O'Berry Road (the state already has authorized funding for the design work)

* Widening of Mark Edwards Road from New Hope Road to the new U.S. 70 Bypass

* Widening New Hope Road from Patetown Road to Wayne Memorial Drive.

In other project updates, Mrs. Collins said that plans to widen Berkeley Boulevard had been delayed for one year because of problems securing right of way.

Mrs. Collins may be reached at 919-580-4327.