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NCDOT plans to turn parts of US 70 into an interstate

A detail from a preliminary plan to turn U.S. 70 into an interstate highway near Princeton. The N.C. Department of Transportation will show its plans for a 6.7-mile stretch of the highway at a public open house in Princeton on Dec. 7, 2017.
A detail from a preliminary plan to turn U.S. 70 into an interstate highway near Princeton. The N.C. Department of Transportation will show its plans for a 6.7-mile stretch of the highway at a public open house in Princeton on Dec. 7, 2017. NCDOT

The state Department of Transportation has drawn up preliminary plans for turning a 6.7-mile stretch of U.S. 70 into a freeway from west of Princeton to the Goldsboro bypass, and it wants to hear what you think about it.

The $130.5 million project is part of a broader effort to turn U.S. 70 into an interstate highway between Interstate 40 near Garner and Morehead City. The U.S. 70 bypasses at Clayton, Goldsboro and New Bern were designed mostly to interstate standards, and the new stretch of highway will be, too.

The American Association of State and Transportation Officials, which designates interstate highways, declared last year that U.S. 70 will eventually become Interstate 42 between Raleigh and the coast.

NCDOT will answer questions and get reaction to its plans for the Princeton section of U.S. 70 at an informal open house from 4 to 7 p.m. Dec. 7 at Grace Baptist Church, 220 Barden St. in Princeton.

The plan covers U.S. 70 from west of Pondfield Road in Johnston County to the U.S. 70 bypass on the west side of Goldsboro. Access to the four-lane divided highway will be limited to three interchanges – one on each side of Princeton and a third near Ebenezer Church and Capps Bridge roads in Wayne County. Several of the businesses that now have direct access to U.S. 70 would be reached via new service roads.

Construction is not expected to begin until 2023 and would not be completed until 2026.

It’s not clear yet how much property the state will need to take for the new highway, but preliminary plans posted on the NCDOT website show the interstate, interchanges and new service roads will take up more space than the existing highway.

NCDOT will accept comments on the plans until Jan. 8. To send comments, or seek additional information, contact Debbie Barbour, a consultant project engineer, at Debbie.Barbour@kisingercampo.com or 919-882-7839, ext. 5101; or Matt Clarke, NCDOT project engineer for Division 4, at wmclarke@ncdot.gov, P.O. Box 3165, Wilson N.C., 27895 or 252-640-6419.

Richard Stradling: 919-829-4739, @RStradling

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