MOUNT OLIVE — Construction is underway on a two-lane public access road to connect Talton Avenue to N.C. 55.
The new intersection, which will have a traffic light and turn lane, is being built as a way to ease the volume of truck traffic on town streets that is headed to and from the Mt. Olive Pickle Co., said Sam Lawhorn, a district engineer for the state Department of Transportation.
The town streets were not designed to carry such large truck traffic, he said.
The entrance to the new road is close to the west side of the bridge that takes N.C. 55 over the Old Mount Olive Highway and railroad tracks.
“The site distance issue is a concern we are aware of and we are reviewing, as part of the traffic signal design,” Lawhorn said. “We want to make sure there is plenty of distance to stop at this signal, after you can actually view the signal or (to) give some advance warning.
“The design for the signal is due in March and additional signage, lighting or other safety precautions may be needed but that will be determined by the signal design.”
The street is being built in conjunction with a separate small widening project to extend a turning lane on N.C. 55 that would start near the entrance to the Yummy Orient restaurant and extend east a short distance.
The street project will cost approximately $920,000, while the widening project will cost approximately $215,000.
The pickle company sought the new street and will build a truck-staging area on property it owns on Talton Avenue.
“As our business has grown, we have seen an increase in the truck traffic in and out of our facilities,” said company spokesman Lynn Williams. “That has increased truck traffic around town, as well. The new road from N.C. 55 will provide Mt. Olive Pickle related truck traffic a direct route to our properties and minimize truck traffic on town streets.
“In conjunction with the new road, we are also constructing a truck-staging area on Talton Avenue to give trucks a place to check in and wait to be unloaded. This will ease congestion at our distribution center, as well as the main plant.”
More than 40,000 trucks come in and out of the plant’s facilities on an annual basis, including trucks bringing in cucumbers and others that are there to pick up products at the company’s distribution center, Williams said.
The road projects are expected to be finished by June, while completion of the pickle company’s truck-staging area will be finished by the end of the summer.