Leaders in Johnston and Wayne counties want to name a stretch of the U.S. 70 bypass of Goldsboro for a Kenly man killed during its construction.
In June, Wayne County Commissioners adopted a resolution asking the N.C. Department of Transportation to reserve a section of the new highway for Grey Bailey. A 35-year-old DOT worker, Bailey died March 23 when he was struck by a car while working in the median of U.S. 70 near Capps Bridge Road.
In July, Johnston County Commissioners added their support to the resolution with a letter to the DOT.
It was an easy decision for the Johnston board to join the push, Chairman Tony Braswell said. Bailey lived in Johnston, where he was active an active member of Bethany Missionary Baptist Church and a 14-year firefighter with the Bethany Volunteer Fire Department, Braswell said.
“If you’re going to name a highway after somebody, this is the kind of guy you want,” he said.
Bailey left behind a wife, Millie, and twin 18-month-old daughters. In the following weeks, the family received an outpouring of support from friends, family and perfect strangers, who donated $50,715 through an online donation site, gofundme.com/greybailey.
Tahisha Monique Dukette, 29, drove the vehicle that struck Bailey, according to reports. Dukette faces charges of felony death by vehicle, driving while impaired and two counts of child endangerment, Highway Patrol Sgt. Maurice Devall said in March.
Dukette was charged with a DWI after failing a field sobriety test, Devall said. She is suspected of having taken a depressant for which she had a prescription, he added. Dukette was driving her two children, ages 2 and 9, which led to the child-endangerment charges.
She is scheduled to appear in court Sept. 22.
The state has specific rules for naming roads, bridges and ferries after people.
To be eligible, an honoree must be living or have been dead for a year or more, said Tim Little, DOT Division 4 engineer.
Little said that’s why he advised the Wayne County Commissioners to adopt a resolution asking the DOT to reserve a section of the U.S. 70 Bypass for Bailey. Once a year has passed since Bailey’s March 23 death, the N.C. Board of Transportation will consider the resolution.
Because the U.S. 70 Bypass remains under construction, Little said he suggested commissioners not request which portion of the highway they want named for Bailey. Instead, commissioners left their request relatively open-ended.
“That makes it a lot easier when it comes to fruition,” Little said.
A stretch of road up to five miles long may be dedicated to a person, according to the state rules. The government body that requests a dedication must be willing to contribute $1,000 to cover roughly half the cost of signs.
The first section of the four-lane U.S. 70 Bypass of Goldsboro opened to traffic in December 2011. It stretches 3.9 miles north of Goldsboro, from Interstate 795 to Wayne Memorial Drive. It is currently designated as N.C. 44.
Bailey was killed while working on the western portion of the bypass, which will run 5.9 miles and connect from U.S. 70 west of N.C. 581 to Interstate 795. The state awarded that $62.4 million contract to S.T. Wooten Corp. in July 2012, and construction should wrap up in September or October. At that point, Little said, the state will also designate the highway as N.C. 44.
The final, 12.5-mile stretch will pick up at Wayne Memorial Drive and reconnect with U.S. 70 east of Promise Land Road in Lenoir County. The $104.4 million design-build contract for that project went to Barnhill Contracting Co. in February 2012. That work should finish in summer 2016.
Once all three sections are built, Little said, the state will drop the N.C. 44 designation and rename the complete stretch to U.S. 70 Bypass.