06/21/17 — Street widening project threatens properties

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Street widening project threatens properties

By Steve Herring
Published in News on June 21, 2017 7:08 AM

More than 80 parcels of property along North William Street (U.S. 117 North) will be affected by right of-way acquisition for a $21 million highway improvement plan.

That property acquisition already is under way for the project that will transform the street into a four-lane, median-divided highway between U.S. 70 and the new U.S. 70 Bypass.

North William Street currently varies from two to four lanes and is either undivided or features two-way left-turn lanes for the median.

The state plans to widen the street to 12-foot-wide inside lanes and 14-foot-wide outside lanes to accommodate bicycle traffic.

It would include a 17.6-foot median along North William Street from the U.S. 70 westbound ramp to Tommy's Road to reduce traffic conflict points and improve north-south traffic flow.

Some sections of the median would be grass, while the narrower sections, where turns will be allowed, would be concrete.

Median openings will be installed at select locations along the street to accommodate U-turns and left-turning traffic from side streets.

The U.S. 117 Alternate/North William Street intersection would be realigned to reduce conflicting turning movements where there are no signals.

The project is included in the 2016-25 State Transportation Improvement Program.

The state initially set aside nearly $1 million for right of way. However, Matt Clarke, state Department of Transportation Division 4 project engineer, said he is "fairly confident" more will be needed.

"The official right-of-way plans were submitted on March 16 of this year," he said. "I would assume some property owners have been contacted by the right-of-way agents. There are 83 parcels on this project. Some of the parcels are owned by the same owners, but there are 83 total that looks like will be impacted.

"The total business and residential locations, I am not sure of."

Also, the final project cost could vary based on right away and other factors such as utility relocation expenses, he said.

Bids are scheduled to be let in August 2018, with construction expected to take 18 to 24 months to complete.

Once construction gets underway, motorists can expect detours and delays, Clarke said.

"One thing about this thought, it is going to be constructed so that traffic can be maintained on William Street," he said. "There may be some times when there may be some impacts, but there will be some lane shifts and a lane may need to be narrowed. But traffic will be maintained on the routes."

There may be a case where occasionally traffic might need to be detoured to do some kind of work, but most closures more than likely would be done late at night, he said.

The project was the subject of a June 2016, public meeting at the Goldsboro Event Center.

Clarke said that a lot of the residents and business owners who attended the meeting appeared positive toward the change even though they might be affected.

The public response was good, and based on public comments the plan design was adjusted where possible to lessen the impact, Clarke said.

The roadway alignment was maybe shifted in some locations were possible, he said.

"We did take the comments and where possible, tried to make adjustments when it was financially and also practically possible," Clarke said.