Highway 42 Widening Project Could Start In 2022

To ease traffic congestion and plan for expected growth, state transportation officials are finalizing a proposal to widen an eight-mile stretch of NC 42 in a fast growing section of Johnston County.

The proposal would widen what now is largely a two-lane Highway 42 West of Clayton into four lanes, including a divided median between US 70 Business inside the Clayton city limits westward to NC 50, which is west of Interstate 40.

The N.C. Department of Transportation is launching a new website with more information about the $66 million proposed project and mailing newsletters to residents and property owners along the corridor.

New homes and businesses continue to sprout along NC 42 between Clayton and Highway 50, where some sections carry more than 22,000 vehicles on the average day. The department is forecasting daily traffic volumes to reach 35,000 on the highway in less than 25 years.

“Traffic congestion is perhaps the number one issue in our area, so we are committed to continuing to work with NC DOT to address this concern,” Clayton Mayor Jody McLeod said. “We appreciate that NC DOT is responding to this challenge of meeting the needs of Clayton’s incredible growth.”

The proposed project offers other benefits. The additional travel lanes would ease traffic delays during rush hour and make it easier for motorists to pull out from side streets. In addition, NC DOT would replace three bridges on Highway 42 that date from the 1940’s and 1960’s.

Department engineers and consultants are studying options of where to expand the highway. They plan to schedule a public meeting in the Spring of 2018, when a preliminary design will be available. Construction would start in 2022.

The proposal is separate from a plan by NC DOT to improve the interchange of I-40 and NC 42 and add two lanes in each direction along I-40 between Exit 301 and Exit 312. The project bisects the portion where NC 42 would be widened. State highway engineers will closely coordinate both projects.