The public will have an opportunity Tuesday to review, comment and ask questions about the state’s revised plans to bring a nearly 7-mile segment of U.S. 70 West between the U.S. 70 Goldsboro Bypass in Wayne County and Pondfield Road in eastern Johnston County up to interstate standards.

The entire 6.7-mile project, with an overall $130 million estimated cost, has been accelerated. The state Department of Transportation plans to obtain bids in December 2019 from design-build teams, with construction starting in 2021.

A public meeting on the plans for the section that straddles the Wayne-Johnston county line will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. at Grace Baptist Church, 220 Barden St., Princeton.

There will be no formal presentation. People can come and go as they want.

DOT officials will be on hand to answer questions and take comments. Participants can also view large maps of the project route. 

Comments received by June 5 will be considered as the final design is developed.

The DOT’s long-range plan is to convert the U.S. 70 corridor between Raleigh and Morehead City into the future Interstate 42. The corridor has already received federal designation as future Interstate 42.

The improvements will replace the road’s existing intersections, traffic signals and median crossovers with interchanges and overpasses and close direct access to the highway.

Last fall, the DOT announced preferred alternative designs for the proposal to upgrade the highway to meet interstate standards.

The revised plan was based on comments the department received during the 2017 public comment period. A meeting was also held in Princeton during that time.

“We received good public feedback for this project, and we are recommending alternatives that will meet interstate standards while limiting impacts to the town of Princeton and the local drivers,” said Matt Clarke, the project engineer for the department’s Division 4 that includes Wayne and Johnston counties. “This refined design will provide more direct access to the town, emergency responders and businesses along the affected U.S. 70 corridor.”

The proposed design and preferred alternatives include:

• A “compressed diamond” interchange east of Princeton at North Pearl Street and Edwards Road. The preferred design requires less additional right of way and fewer roadway extensions and access roads.

• An interchange with U.S. 70 Alternate west of Princeton to provide better connectivity into Princeton, with the extension of New Ballpark Road and the construction of a service road that will connect to Dr. Donnie H. Jones Jr. Boulevard. Based on written comments received from the December 2017 meeting in Princeton, the design option was favored over the alternative of building the interchange at Dr. Donnie H. Jones Jr. Boulevard.

• A U.S. 70 bridge that spans over North Pine Street and Rains Mill Road. With the alternative, North Pine Street and Rains Mill Road will remain near their existing elevations, which will result in the fewest affects to homes and the side street connections.

The Wayne County end of the project, 3.45 miles, is planned to cost $62.9 million.

It stretches from just east of Earl Drive (Secondary Road 1408) at the western end of the U.S. 70 Goldsboro Bypass to just west of Luby Smith Road (Secondary Road 1229).

The second part of the project, which is mostly in Johnston County, will cost $62 million. It stretches from just west of Luby Smith Road to just east of Pondfield Road (secondary road 2314).

For more information or to submit comments about the upcoming meeting, contact Clarke at 252-640-6419 or wmclarke@ncdot.gov; or Debbie Barbour, the consultant project manager, at 919-882-7839 or debbie.barbour@kisingercampo.com.

DOT will provide auxiliary aids and services under the Americans with Disabilities Act for disabled persons who wish to participate in the meeting. Anyone requiring special services should contact Diane Wilson at 919-707-6073 or by pdwilson1@ncdot.gov as early as possible so that arrangements can be made.

People who do not speak English or have a limited ability to read, speak or understand English, may receive interpretive services upon request prior to the meeting by calling 1-800-481-6494.

For more information on proposed improvement to the entire U.S. 70 corridor, visit https://www.ncdot.gov/projects/us-70-corridor/Pages/default.aspx.