Improvements to U.S. 117 from West Ash Street south to Lee's Country Club Road at Mount Olive are included in the state's new 10-year (2018-2027) transportation improvement plan as efforts continue to transform the highway into an extension of Interstate 795.

Planning and design are underway for the $227 million project that will require that some of the road be built on a new location.

Also in the plan, U.S. 70 would be upgraded to freeway standards from the west end of the U.S. 70 Bypass to the Wayne-Johnston county line by eliminating at-grade intersections and driveway connections.

The U.S. 117 project is broken down into four parts:

* North of Country Club Road to south of South Landfill Road at Dudley; $17.3 million; right of way, 2025; construction, 2027.

* South of South Landfill Road to south of Genoa Road; $35 million; right of way, 2025; construction in 2027.

* South of Genoa Road to south of Arrington Bridge Road (N.C. 581); $62.4 million; unfunded for future years past 2027.

* South of Arrington Bridge Road (N.C. 581) to north of West Ash Street (N.C. 581); $111.3 million; unfunded for future years past 2027.

Three other projects, two which are already underway, tie into the U.S. 117 upgrade.

Construction started in late July on interchanges on U.S. 117 South at O'Berry Road, Dudley, and Country Club Road, just north of Mount Olive.

The interchanges are scheduled for completion by October 2019, with additional work, including vegetation and reforestation, possibly continuing through March 2020.

O'Berry Road will travel over U.S. 117, and U.S. 117 will pass over Country Club Road.

The third will realign Smith Chapel Road with Lee's Country Club Road just south of Mount Olive where an interchange will be built. It also includes constructing a new connector road along U.S 117 in that area.

The estimated cost is $28.5 million with right-of-way acquisition to start in 2024 followed by construction in 2026 and 2027.

The $130.5 million project to bring U.S. 70 up to freeway standards would be completed in two phases.

The first would be for the section of highway from the U.S. 70 Bypass to west of Lube Smith Road. Right of way would start in 2023 and construction in 2024, 2025 and 2026.

The second phase would be from west of Lube Smith Road to east of Pondfield Road. The second phase is unfunded for future years past 2027.

Five projects on U.S. 13 North made the plan:

* Widen to multi lanes from Saulston Road to Rodell Barrow Road in Greene County; $46.080 million; right of way, 2024; construction, 2026 and 2027.

* Realignment of Central Heights Road with Royall Avenue; $1.545 million; right of way, 2018; construction, 2021.

* Widen to multi lanes from Royall Avenue to north of Hood Swamp Road; $25.345 million; right of way, 2019; construction in two parts -- Royal Avenue to New Hope Road (under construction), New Hope Road to north of Hood Swamp Road, four-year period from 2021 through 2024.

* Widen to multi lanes from Hood Swamp Road to Saulston Road; $19.109 million; right of way, 2021 and 2022; construction, 2023, 2024 and 2025.

* Improve intersection at New Hope Road; $484,000; right of way and construction, 2018.

Other local highway projects to make the plan are:

* U.S. 70 East Business (East Ash Street) widen to multi lanes from Berkeley Boulevard to U.S. 70; $22.555 million; right of way, 2019; construction, 2021, 2022.

* West Ash Street, widen to multi lanes from Virginia Street to U.S. 117/I-795; $11.375 million; right of way, 2026; construction, 2027.

* Wayne Memorial Drive widen to a multi lanes between New Hope Road and U.S. 70 Bypass; $14.4 million; right of way, 2019; construction, 2021, 2022 and 2023; planning/design underway.

* Wayne Memorial Drive, construct access management improvements between Lockhaven Drive and Country Day Road; $3.270 million; right of way, 2018; construction, 2019; planning/design underway.

* U.S. 70 at Beston Road intersection improvements; $1.7 million; right of way and construction, 2018.

* U.S. 117 (North William Street), widen roadway and make safety improvements from Fedelon Trail to U.S. 70 Bypass; $14.497 million; right of way in progress; construction, 2019 and 2020.

* Interstate 795, resurfacing from U.S. 70 to the Wilson County line; $10 million; underway.