The state Department of Transportation is getting ready to go public with its plans to widen a congested stretch of N.C. 42 in western Johnston County.
NCDOT wants to widen an 8-mile stretch of N.C. 42 from U.S. 70 Business in Clayton west across Interstate 40 to N.C. 50. Most of the road is now two lanes and operating at or above capacity, particularly during rush hour, DOT says. NCDOT plans to widen the road to four lanes, separated by a divided median.
Construction isn’t scheduled to begin until 2022, but DOT plans to present its preliminary plans for the project at a public meeting in the spring. The project is expected to cost more than $66 million, including the replacement of three bridges.
On Monday, the department announced that it had created a website, www.ncdot.gov/projects/nc42widening/, where the public can follow the project. NCDOT is also reaching out to residents and property owners along N.C. 42 by mail.
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The widening of N.C. 42 would follow a separate project to widen Interstate 40 from Raleigh to the N.C. 42 interchange and to reconfigure the interchange to allow direct access between I-40 and Cleveland Road. One of the concerns about that project voiced by residents of the Cleveland community is that the wider I-40 will simply dump more traffic on to already busy two-lane roads in the area, including N.C. 42.
Under NCDOT’s schedule, construction on the widening of N.C. 42 will begin just as the I-40 project is completed.
Some sections of N.C. 42 carry more than 22,000 cars and trucks a day on average, according to NCDOT. With new homes and businesses continuing to spring up along the road, the department expects that number to reach 35,000 a day in less than 25 years.
“Traffic congestion is perhaps the No. 1 issue in our area,” Clayton Mayor Jody McLeod said in a statement. “We are committed to continuing to work with NCDOT to address this concern.”