U.S. 117 North near Genoa Road

U.S. 117 North, near Genoa Road, is being eyed for upgrades as part of the N.C. Department of Transportation 10-year improvement plan proposal.

Additional improvements to upgrade U.S. 117 South to freeway status and widen an additional stretch of Wayne Memorial Drive to four lanes are included in the N.C. Department of Transportation’s new draft 10 year transportation plan.

The projects are still a decade away. The 10-year plan spans from 2020 to 2029.

Under the plan, unveiled Thursday at the N.C. Board of Transportation’s monthly meeting in Raleigh, two segments of U.S. 117 that run roughly between Genoa Road and Arrington Bridge Road will be upgraded to freeway status.

Another section of U.S. 117 South, which runs between Country Club and Genoa roads, is already funded.

The section between Genoa Road and Arrington Bridge Road has not yet been funded. Once the improvements are made, the section of road will be fully controlled access, which eliminates intersections and driveways.

Land acquisition for the two new sections will begin in 2028, with construction to start after 2029.

The improvements to the U.S. 117 corridor are a part of the state’s plan to extend Interstate 795 from Goldsboro to Interstate 40 in Sampson County. Some portions will be built on new locations.

Construction is scheduled to begin in 2029 on widening Wayne Memorial Drive between the U.S. 70 Bypass and Saulston Road.

Right-of-way acquisition is scheduled in 2027 and 2028.

It may take two to three years to complete construction, DOT spokesman Andrew Barksdale said.

“We will have a public meeting in the future, as we go further along in the development of this project,” he said. “This is a new project sought by local officials and the Goldsboro (Metropolitan Planning Organization), and we also support its need, and it was prioritized and it made the cut to get funded in the new 10-year plan, which will run from 2020 to 2029.

“We anticipate the N.C. Board of Transportation will adopt this plan sometime this summer.”

In a related project, right-of-way acquisition will begin this year with construction to start in spring 2021 on a $14.4 million road-widening project on Wayne Memorial Drive, between West New Hope Road and the U.S. 70 Bypass.

The public will have the opportunity to inspect the preliminary roadway design, ask questions and provide comments on that proposal during a public meeting Tuesday at the Maxwell Center, 3114 Wayne Memorial Drive. The informal meeting will be held from 4 to 7 p.m.

No formal presentation will be given, and the meeting will follow the same format that was used for recent meetings on the proposal for the U.S. 117 corridor from Goldsboro to Interstate 40 in Sampson County.

People can stop by at any time between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m to look at design maps and ask questions of DOT representatives.

Other additions in Division 4 include:

• Upgrade N.C. 210 into a superstreet with raised medians between N.C. 50 and Raleigh Road in Johnston County, with construction starting in 2028.

• Upgrade the intersection of N.C. 58 (Nash Street NW) and Airport Road/Lake Wilson Road in Wilson County by adding turn lanes and other improvements to be determined as the project is developed. Construction will start in 2027.

• Widen Cleveland Road between N.C. 42 and Barber Mill Road in Johnston County, with construction starting in 2029.

• Widen U.S. 258 in Edgecombe County between Colonial Road and U.S. 64, with construction starting in 2028.

Division 4 will host an in-house weeklong public comment opportunity in February or March during normal business hours to give residents as chance to review maps and handouts about projects, ask questions of local staff and submit comments.

There will also be an opportunity for residents to submit comments online, with those details to be announced later.

“It’s wonderful to see these new projects coming to our growing region,” said board member Gus Tulloss, of Rocky Mount, who represents the division. “They are needed, and they will improve congestion and promote economic development.”

The new plan, called the Draft 2020-2029 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), includes 18 new highway projects in Division 4 that covers Edgecombe, Halifax, Johnston, Nash, Wayne and Wilson counties.

The department’s 10-year plan is updated every two years.

Projects scheduled in the first five years are considered committed and were not re-evaluated, but projects in the final five years of each 10-year plan were reprioritized for consideration in the draft plan.

The Board of Transportation is expected to consider final approval of the plan this summer.

The draft STIP includes projects across all transportation modes and in all 100 counties in the state. The list includes 1,266 highway projects; 86 aviation; 235 bicycle and pedestrian; six ferry; 23 public transit; and 47 rail projects selected on statewide, regional and division levels.

The projects were prioritized based on technical data, as well as input from local officials and residents.

The draft plan includes about 500 changes in major highway projects from the current STIP. Half of the changes include new road projects. Also, there were about 200 projects where a schedule was changed for planning or budgeting needs, and 10 projects that had schedules accelerated.

Another 24 projects on the current STIP didn’t score high enough to remain in the new draft plan. A statewide list of major highway changes can be found on the the DOT STIP web page, https://www.ncdot.gov/news/press-releases/Pages/2019/2019-01-10-draft-stip.aspx.

Projects that did not score high enough in the evaluation process to be funded at the statewide level rolled over to the regional level for consideration.

Projects that were not funded at the regional level could still be considered at the division level. The cascading aspect of the process helps ensure that local input plays an important role in prioritizing projects for funding.

More information about the STIP and how transportation projects are funded is available on the DOT website, https://www.ncdot.gov.