New Hwy. 70 Bypass causes a bottleneck

JOHNSTON COUNTY Early in the morning, commuter traffic on Interstate 40 slowed at the interchange with the new US 70 Bypass. An hour later, it was backed up as far as the eye could see, long before the I-40 traffic even reached the interchange.

The four-lane, 70-mile per hour bypass itself never seemed at all congested. "I think it's gonna take time," Clayton commuter, Sandy Shank said. "It's a new highway. People have to get used to getting on it."

Sandy lives in Clayton and commutes to Raleigh. She started thinking about Tuesday's drive right after the ribbon was cut Monday morning. "My husband and I took a ride last night on the new by-pass - very nice. But it doesn't seem like it's any quicker for me to go that way because I'm right here in Clayton. So I just got on Hwy. 70-Business," Sandy said.

Tuesday Shank took the old Highway 70 to I-40, stopping for gas along the way. She was fortunate. Traffic definitely seemed lighter on some parts of the road. Although Clayton's infamous stoplight still caused a back-up at times.

No matter which route commuters took, they still ended up on I-40 causing the usual westbound morning back-up. The good news is that the commute to I-40 from points southeast of Raleigh should continue to improve as more and more drivers discover the new four-lane bypass.

"I'm hoping that they, you know, the tractor trailers, the people that are going from Smithfield down to Raleigh take that instead of 70 business," Sandy Shank said. "That way the people that live here in Clayton can get an easy commute."

Until I-40 gets widened years from now the commute will be a little easier between Smithfield and the Wake County line until it reaches the I-40 interchange during the morning rush hour.

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