DOT Considering Major Improvements To US 70

The Department of Transportation is considering a multi-million improvement project along the US70 Business Corridor through Clayton.

Jiles P. Harrell, District Engineer for the NC DOT in Johnston and Wayne counties said the DOT is looking at combining two separate projects into one to save money.

The first project includes the repaving on US70 from the Wake County line to near the US70 Clayton Bypass.  The projected cost was not released pending the solicitation of bids.

Accident US 70 6-2016
Clayton Police investigate an accident on US 70 Business. The NC DOT is looking at repaving US 70 through Clayton as well as making improvements at multiple crossovers in an attempt to reduce traffic collisions as much as 90 percent. The DOT says 403 accidents have occurred on US 70 in Clayton in the last 5 years. File Photo

The second project, which would take place concurrently, and would cost an additional $2.5 to $3 million, would improve median crossovers on US 70 Business between Shotwell Road to just east of Highway 42.

Several traditional median crossovers would be converted to a directional crossover and the westbound left turn lanes at Shotwell Road and Robertson Streets would be lengthened.

Harrell said the improvements could reduce traffic crashes between 50 and 90% which would improve the overall speed and flow of traffic on US 70, and reduce responses to accidents by the police department, fire department, and EMS, and those resources could be utilized elsewhere.

In the past 5 years, 403 crashes have occurred along US70 in Clayton, including 116 at 6 of the intersections, resulting in 187 injuries.

One of the more controversial parts of the project was adding a new stoplight on US70 in front of the Food Lion Shopping Center. Town officials expressed concerns about traffic that would be routed into the privately owned shopping center, which would be forced to travel east behind the Kangaroo convenience store and then reenter US 70 near Vineros.  Town staff was directed to contact the property owners to gather their input.

By combining the two projects into one, it would save the DOT an estimated $550,000 to $850,000. Harrell said the total project could 12-18 months to complete after it is put out to bids in late-2016 or early-2017.

Harrell said the majority of the work will be performed during the evening or under daytime lane closure restrictions to limit the impacts to traffic.   According to 2014 traffic counts, 36,000 vehicles travel on US70 Business in Clayton.

The town council is expected to formally vote on the highway improvements at their June 20th meeting.