Princeton – The N.C. Department of Transportation has announced its preferred design alternatives for upgrading a 6.7-mile stretch of U.S. 70 near Princeton in Johnston and Wayne counties.
The department proposes converting the four-lane highway into a limited-access freeway that would meet interstate standards. The improvement would replace the road’s existing intersections, traffic signals and median crossovers with interchanges and overpasses between the U.S. 70 Goldsboro Bypass in Wayne County and Pondfield Road west of Princeton in Johnston County. The change would close direct access to the highway and improve safety and mobility on a corridor that will become future Interstate 42 between Raleigh and Morehead City.
State transportation officials held an open house in Princeton last December. After reviewing public comments and further evaluating designs, NCDOT is recommending the following alternate designs for the project:
• A “compressed diamond” interchange east of Princeton at North Pearl Street/Edwards Road. This concept and location have been revised since the public meeting. It would replace a previous design that would have been near Dr. Donnie H. Jones Jr. Boulevard. The preferred design requires less additional right of way and fewer roadway extensions and access roads. The preferred design also maintains through-traffic movements along North Pearl Street and Edwards Road;
• An interchange with U.S. 70 Alternate west of Princeton. This option provides better connectivity into Princeton with the extension of New Ballpark Road and the construction of a service road that will connect to Dr. Donnie H. Jones Jr. Boulevard. Based on written comments received, this design was favored over the alternative of building the interchange at Dr. Donnie H. Jones Jr. Boulevard;
• A U.S. 70 bridge that traverses North Pine Street/Rains Mill Road. With this alternative, North Pine Street/Rains Mill Road will remain at their existing elevations, which will result in the fewest impacts to homes and the side street connections. This design received more written public support than the alternative, which was raising North Pine Street/Rains Mill Road over U.S. 70; and
• Minor design changes to the partial cloverleaf interchange in the vicinity of Capps Bridge Road and Ebenezer Church Road. The changes would reduce environmental impacts and improve roadway connectivity.
“We received good public feedback for this project, and we are recommending alternatives that will meet interstate standards while limiting impacts to the town of Princeton and the local drivers,” said Matt Clarke, the project engineer for the department’s Division 4. “This refined design will provide more direct access to the town, emergency responders and businesses along the affected U.S. 70 corridor.”
The entire 6.7-mile project, with an overall $130 million estimated cost, has been accelerated. The department plans to obtain bids in December 2019 from design-build teams, with construction starting in 2021.