The NC Department of Transportation is considering a plan to move I-95 farther east between the Smithfield and Selma exits. But it would be as much as two decades from now.
Last year, the NC Department of Transportation unveiled plans to upgrade US 70 from Garner to Morehead City to interstate standards within the next 25 years. That stretch of US 70 would be renamed Interstate 42, not to be confused with Highway 42, saving time for drivers and making access from Raleigh to the coast quicker and easier.
As part of the I-42 project, the NC DOT announced to Smithfield, Selma and Johnston County officials on Wednesday a plan to upgrade the US 70 Flyover in Selma to a cloverleaf interchange and eliminate the interchange as it now exists at Exit 97.
To accommodate the new cloverleaf highway-speed entrance and exit ramps, the DOT would need to shift Interstate 95 as much as 2,000 feet to the east of its current location between Smithfield and Selma. A section of US70 East of I-95 in Selma would also be shifted to what is now the US 70 Flyover. A new exit would be constructed on I-95 at US 70 in Selma just north of its current location.
Andrew Barksdale, Public Relations Officer with the NC DOT, told WTSB News this is part of long range plan and the improvements could be 20 years away. Barksdale said the current proposal is not funded and at this time is only a proposal to study to examine the potential impacts. He said this may not be the final way the interchange is constructed and additional options could be considered.
What would happen to the land where the existing stretch of I-95 is abandoned between the two cities is also an unanswered question.
The DOT says the map is a conceptual proposal and the realignment of I-95 could still be adjusted. The proposal has not been surveyed nor funded Barksdale said and reiterated it would be many years away from construction.
The DOT has already approved funding unrelated improvements at I-95 and US 70 in Smithfield (Exit 95). The $15.7 million upgrade will begin in 2020.