US 70 Bypass open around Goldsboro

Coast-bound travelers on U.S. 70 won’t have Goldsboro traffic to deal with anymore.

State and local officials cut the ribbon on the eastern section of a U.S. 70 bypass around the city on Friday. The new U.S. 70 Bypass stretches 20 miles from near N.C. 581 in Wayne County to just east of Promise Land Road in Lenoir County.

The highway replaces an earlier bypass that had attracted commercial development and grown congested. According to an assessment commissioned by the state Department of Transportation, the new bypass combined with other updates to the U.S. 70 corridor could cut travel time between Raleigh and the port at Morehead City by an hour and will improve the flow of goods from the port and the Global TransPark in Kinston to Interstate 95.

The new route cost $235 million to complete but is projected to help generate jobs in the area. State officials say the improved flow of traffic will cut down on transportation costs for businesses and residents alike, making the surrounding area more attractive for future business expansion.

“This bypass brings us closer to realizing our vision for this corridor and the many benefits that come from improved highway connections,” Gov. Pat McCrory said in a statement.

Local businesses in Goldsboro may suffer from the diversion of customers around the city. Some beachgoers will have to go a little bit out of their way to get to mainstays such as McCall’s Barbecue and Seafood and Wilber’s Barbecue, both on the old stretch of U.S. 70 on the eastern edge of Goldsboro.

Wilber Shirley has been serving barbecue here since 1964 and is confident that loyal patrons will still support him.

“I hope that I have some customers that see fit to come by,” Shirley said.

The bypass is part of a larger list of improvements that will eventually turn U.S. 70 into an interstate highway from I-40 to Morehead City. With recent approval from the American Association of State and Transportation Officials, the road will be designated “Future I-42” until the entire corridor is brought up to interstate standards.

Grayson Logue: 919-829-8922