Right-of-way acquisition could begin later this year
Town of Clayton leaders are celebrating what they call a huge transportation triumph today thanks to the tireless pursuit of support and funding by North Carolina House Representative Donna White. The NC Department of Transportation has officially given the green light to a major, multi-million dollar roadway project that will extend NC 42 East across US 70, bringing significant relief to local industry and helping alleviate growing traffic congestion in the Clayton area.
“We were in the 11th hour, about to lose more than $8 million in federal funding, and still needing to go through at least three NC DOT approval meetings,” said Clayton Mayor Jody McLeod. ” We went to Donna, she believed in the benefits this road extension would bring to residents and businesses, and she made it happen. The project and funding would have been lost if not for her.”
For decades, Clayton has suffered from what’s called an incomplete interchange. NC 42, a primary state highway, gets cut in half in Clayton – with both NC 42 East and West essentially dead-ending at US 70 Business until 42 picks up again almost two miles and four local traffic lights later on US 70 Business. This newly approved extension will connect NC 42 East to Ranch Road, allowing drivers to reach the US 70 Bypass in just one mile. The bypass is part of Future Interstate 42, which is a vital corridor for freight transport running from 1-40 in Garner and connecting Clayton, Smithfield, Selma, Goldsboro, Kinston, New Bern and Havelock to the Port of Morehead City.
“Traffic congestion remains one of the top concerns of our residents and this project is one of those rare projects that you can say will truly benefit everyone,” said Clayton Town Manager Adam Lindsay. “The Clayton Chamber of Commerce was already lining up support, local industry was behind this, and local residents will see the benefits because it is going to relieve some of their traffic concerns.”
“This is an incredible victory for Clayton and I worked hard on this, not only because I knew it would help those who live and work in Johnston County, but it would help our major industry in the area, like Caterpillar, Novo Nordisk, Grifols and Guy C. Lee Building Supplies,” said NC Representative Donna White of District 26 in Johnston County. “One of my priorities is to ensure the success of our local economy and this extension will improve the delivery demands and truck routing for these large manufacturers – giving them more direct, faster routes. And for families, I hope it means getting where they need to go is a little easier as the western part of Johnston County continues to grow.”
Originally, Town of Clayton Economic Development Director Dave DeYoung had jointly submitted this project with leaders from Division 4 of the NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO), the entity that helps score and fund large transportation projects throughout the Triangle. The project ranked high and was approved as for a roughly $8 million Locally-Administered Project Program (LAPP) project for fiscal year 2020. Those LAPP funds required a 20 percent local match of about $1.6 million. Only days before the deadline to secure the local match, Rep. White worked to convince NC Speaker of House Tim Moore to support the match. In the end, he and NC Senate Pro Tem Phil Berger recognized the importance of the project for the region and approved joint funding from both houses of the General Assembly.
- In addition to helping local industry with trucking and delivery routes, the extension will become a detour when the lengthy NC 42 West widening construction project begins in 2025.
- The extension will relieve traffic congestion on US 70 Business W between 42 East and 42 .
- Clayton Fire Station #2 will be able to respond more quickly to and provide emergency services to property owners and residents who live south of US 70 Business W.
- The extension will serve as an alternate route for residents in the Glen Laurel and Flowers Plantation area who use Powhatan Road to get to US 70 Bypass and avoid congestion on US 70 Business through town.
NC DOT’s Division 4 will be managing the project and will be working on a schedule for the project. Right-of way acquisition may begin in late 2020.