State News

Bypass will speed trip east of Raleigh on U.S. 70, I-40

Posted June 9, 2008

— A $123 million bypass that opened Monday in Johnston County is expected to relieve congestion and speed thousands of vehicles a day around the town of Clayton.

Department of Transportation spokeswoman Amanda Perry said the nearly 11-mile bypass is expected to carry 85,000 cars a day by 2025.

The road links Interstate 40 to U.S. 70 just west of Smithfield. Motorists who currently take U.S. 70 can expect to save about 15 minutes of travel time by using the new bypass.

"I go into the city or I go between here and Clayton all the time, so this should be wonderful," said driver Mickey Bast. "I'm very excited about this."

Construction began on the highway in June 2005 and it is opening a year ahead of schedule.

"DOT, sometimes we cuss you, but we're praising you today," Johnston County Commissioner Cookie Pope said.

"DOT is often criticized for delaying projects, and this is one of those chances we get to toot our own horn," said State Transportation Secretary Lyndo Tippett.

To help keep drivers informed, the bypass features the state’s first fully automated speed-detection system. Twenty-two speed sensors located throughout the project will allow Dynamic Message Signs to display real-time travel information, including estimated drive times.

"(Drivers) will be able to determine how long it's going to take them (to get to their destination), and if they want to take an alternate route, they can," DOT engineer Sherry Yow said.

Motorists on existing U.S. 70 will be aware of travel conditions ahead and have the opportunity to select their route accordingly.

Project staff also undertook numerous environmental stewardship efforts while designing and constructing the bypass due to its close proximity to the Swift Creek watershed. These features include a wildlife underpass, hazardous spill basins and various erosion control devices to help protect the area’s ecosystem.


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  • SheriffTruman Jun 10, 2008

    "Will you remember that when something goes wrong on a project or will it then become the road that DOT built?"

    Well, I seem to remember plenty of people calling out the contractor on the I-40 widening for following the spec that the DOT had laid out in their design and conveniently forgot to update.

  • Road-wearier Jun 10, 2008

    - I hate sprawl.
    - I work from my home.
    - My wife's office is 6 miles away with no highway travel.

    And I hate sprawl. This bypass is folly. Why is anybody except NCDOT surprised that the traffic between US 70 and NC 42 is a mess? This is yet another breathtaking example of NCDOT's poor planning and obscene lack of foresight. And as always nobody will be held to task for it. Accountability is un-American.

  • MyKidRox Jun 10, 2008

    HEY...Leonardo....we bought our house in the COUNTRY of Wake County near 40/42 BEFORE the sprawl as you call it came into play. Now, we cannot afford to move to North Raleigh where we work and where our son goes to preschool because of the economy. Sounds like you have no idea what you are talking about. Or perhaps you still live at home with mom and dad and they pay for your gas and car insurance.

  • Bob Sidel Jun 10, 2008

    "Toot your horn for what, you didn't build it, a contractor built it. S. T. Wooten I believe. But never is the contractor who takes the risk of building all of the infrastructure that we use ever mentioned."

    Will you remember that when something goes wrong on a project or will it then become the road that DOT built?

  • floriduhschoolboy Jun 10, 2008

    I-40 was stop and go from exit 319 to 301 this morning. Makes no sense to me.

  • dsms6556us Jun 10, 2008

    I rode the bypass yesterday afternoon and this morning. It was well worth it and saved me time. Not much traffic yesterday and this morning. I think of it as a positive experience.

  • cm64 Jun 9, 2008

    Oh thank you taxpayers of NC for helping out Clayton which bogged its roads down with poor planning and rampant runaway growth. Got so bad, Raleighans couldn’t get to the beach properly. Now with the brand spanking new bypass, Clayton -Johnston can load more folks into the boonies and eventually clog this road also.

  • hi_i_am_wade Jun 9, 2008

    If you could finish US-70 quicker than normal and US-64 quicker than normal, why was I-140 in Wilmington 5 years late opening? Why is I-485 in Charlotte 10 years late? Why is every project not in the Raleigh area delayed and overbudget? If anything, this continues to prove our DOT is inept because if two main roads open early, why not all of them? Why not take that budget surplus you have and rebuild the Bonner Bridge? Oh, that is right, it makes too much sense and the DOT bigwigs won't be using it.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Jun 9, 2008

    Another new highway project that's bound for failure even before it opens.

    The US-70 Clayton bypass joins I-40 two miles east of US-70 Business in Garner and a mile or so west of NC-42 in Clayton.

    I-40 is currently a congested parking lot from NC-42 in Clayton to US-70 Business in Garner.

    Now with NC DOT building the new US-70 Bypass without expanding I-40 between the bypass and US-70 Business in Garner, NC DOT has created a traffic jam that is significantly worse than the I-540 on ramp onto I-40 West.

    Seeing that I-40 is already a congested parking lot between NC-42 in Clayton and US-70 Business in Garner, adding the traffic from US-70 Bypass onto the existing two lanes of I-40 West will create a parking lot.

    NC DOT should have added a lane between the US-70 Bypass and US-70 Business in Garner as part of the project.

    I read over the weekend that NCDOT is beginning the early planning of adding one lane each way to I-40 between NC-42 in Clayton and US-70 Business in Garner.

  • we-r-just-human Jun 9, 2008

    How can NCDOT toot their own horn? This early completion was due mainly to the drought and the hard work of the contractor. So they also need to take credit for the water shortage...

    sounds fair to me. FYI, DOT the people that use the road are not as dumb/blind as you wish we were.

    PS... just some FREE info that the NCDOT doesn't like using