03/05/14 — Mount Olive seeking transportation plan approval

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Mount Olive seeking transportation plan approval

By Josh Ellerbrock
Published in News on March 5, 2014 1:46 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- The Mount Olive Town Board began the rounds of approval needed for the Mount Olive Comprehensive Transportation Plan to be filed with the state Department of Transportation during its town board meeting Monday.

The plan will now head to the Calypso Town Board, the Duplin County Board of Commissioners, the Wayne County Planning Board and the Wayne County Board of Commissioners before being approved by the Regional Planning Organization and the state.

Calypso and Duplin County are involved in the approval process because certain projects, such as updated bypasses on U.S. 117, will affect the town and the county.

The plan serves as a wish-list for the town of Mount Olive to receive funding for state transportation projects. Worked on for the last three years, the plan covers 30 years worth of transportation projects for the southern Wayne county town.

"Our purpose was to set out and identify existing and future transportation problems that we had in Mount Olive. We wanted to get enough decision makers together and use their information and input as a guide on what we need to do going forward," Town Manager Charles Brown said.

NCDOT representatives were scheduled to attend the town board meeting to better explain the CTP, but Monday night's inclement weather stopped those plans.

The objectives of the CTP are to decrease traffic congestion and increase safety, Brown said.

Beside larger projects, like updates to U.S. 117 bypasses and broadening of N.C. 55 west of Mount Olive, the CTP also includes potential updates to the town's bike, pedestrian paths and public transportation.

Sidewalks in the plan are mentioned, but Brown said the plan does not suggest that everybody gets one in their front yard.

"We know that it's not feasible for us to put a sidewalk in front of everybody's house. Most of you would like to. But our goal was so everybody was within a block of the sidewalk so that you got, if you will, a sidewalk interstate system," he said.

Public transportation updates could also possibly expand routes of the current Gateway bus system for Mount Olive residents. Well-attended Goldsboro locations, such as Wayne Community College and Wayne Memorial Hospital, could potentially be added to the bus system.

Improvements listed in the CTP, however, are not guaranteed to be funded by the NCDOT.

"It's important to understand what this document is. It's not a guarantee that we'll get any of this," Brown said. "But not having a project on here is a guarantee that you won't get it."

"This at least gets you in the ballpark."

In related business, the town delayed the acceptance of a $100,000 loan from the Eastern Region Trust Fund recently given to the town by the Wayne County commissioners to update a section of the runway at the Mount Olive Municipal Airport. Consideration for the loan will be sent back to the Mount Olive Airport Committee for further deliberation.

The town is currently waiting to pay a 10 percent grant match worth $168,000 needed to receive a $1.68 million state grant that will pay for the runway rehabilitation project at the airport.