Highway 70 bypass set to open soon

May 29, 2008 5:35:38 PM PDT
Beachgoers and drivers are just days away from the opening of the much anticipated U.S. 70 bypass and Thursday morning officials with the Division of Motor Vehicles gave us a sneak preview.

It's the largest road construction in Johnston county, since I-40 was built in the 1980s. And it's expected to alleviate traffic, get beach goers to the water faster but what will this mean for local businesses.

For now the sign reads closed, but on June 9, cars who want to get to the beach a little faster will be able to take the new U.S. 70 bypass.

Delores Rhodes is the manager of this locally owned shell gas station, on the current Highway 70, and says they depend mainly on in store sales.

She doesn't worry that the new bypass will hurt their profits, "our inside sales is what support the stores you've got to have your regular customers, we like regular customers too but local customers is really what holds the business together."

Orange and white barriers block off the exit to the new bypass. The sign, which is covered in black, will be unveiled in less than two weeks. The project will open a year ahead of schedule and cost $123 million.

There is even a wildlife underpass to fence in wildlife, including deer and raccoons. The underpass will direct animals away from the roads.

The 9.5-mile expressway will also free commuters and beachgoers from thick congestion on U.S. 70 in fast-growing Clayton and western Johnston County. As for the cost to local businesses along the old 70, the effect is unknown.

The resident engineer says the two mild winters and the dry summer have made it "wide open" for them to move dirt all around and open on June 9th.


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