06/11/17 — John H. Kerr III highway named

View Archive

John H. Kerr III highway named

By Steve Herring
Published in News on June 11, 2017 1:45 AM

John H. Kerr III

The five-mile section of the U.S. 70 Goldsboro Bypass from the Interstate 795 interchange to U.S. 13 has been designated as the John H. Kerr III Highway by the N.C. Board of Transportation.

The late Kerr was one of the most powerful members of the state General

Assembly and championed improvement to state infrastructure including the bypass and the I-795 designation (for a four-laned U.S. 117) between Goldsboro and Wilson.

The Wayne County Board of Commissioners first tried to have the road named in memory of Kerr shortly following his death in May 2015. However, road-naming criteria requires that a person be deceased for at least a year.

Commissioners submitted the resolution again this past February.

It was unanimously approved during the Transportation Board's June 1 session in Raleigh.

The resolution was read by board member Gus Tulloss of Rocky Mount who represents Division Four, which includes Wayne County.

Tulloss also made the motion to adopt the resolution.

"It was approved at the May meeting of the Road Naming Committee," Tulloss said. "Then it sets, and this is how it works with any resolution, for 30 days until the next board meeting. Then it is presented to the entire board. It was approved unanimously by the Road Naming Committee.

"We had representatives from the county and the city (of Goldsboro) to accept the resolution. We presented the resolution to (Mayor) Chuck Allen and (Commissioner) Wayne Aycock. It was an impressive ceremony."

Tulloss said he had known Kerr for "many, many, many years" when he was involved in state-level politics and was in Raleigh "quite a lot."

It was prior to his time on the transportation board, he said.

"I just admired him for so long," Tulloss said. "He was such a powerful legislator. He was just so committed to eastern North Carolina and particularly Wayne County, and so respected by everybody. But he was a doer. He would call you if he thought his area needed something, and he would go to bat for it."

More often than not, Kerr got what he wanted, he said.

"He was that well respected," Tulloss said. "I think everybody knew that he wasn't going just to be asking because he could and had the influence. We knew that everything that he did was for a purpose, and it was to help his area.

"He was a great guy and a good friend to everybody.

"Big John, he got it done. I was very proud to be able to be the one who presented it."

Kerr was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 1986, serving three terms before being elected to the state Senate, where he served from 1992 until 2008.

It adds that he focused attention on the need to increase eastern North Carolina's infrastructure, including water, sewer, natural gas and roads.

The resolution adds that Kerr "dedicated his life to his family, Madison Avenue Baptist Church, numerous boards, civic organizations and causes that touched the lives of the people and communities in North Carolina and especially in eastern North Carolina."

Signs noting the designation will be erected at a later date.