Princeton mayor looks forward to Highway 70 expansion
Posted May 9, 2012
Updated May 10, 2012
Princeton, N.C. — As the state Department of Transportation hits the gas on plans to turn U.S. Highway 70 into a freeway between Raleigh and Beaufort, towns along the way are bracing for an economic boost from the extra traffic.
Princeton Mayor Don Rains said he thinks the U.S. 70 corridor will make his town an "oasis in eastern Johnston County."
The corridor requires the DOT to build new bypasses around Kinston, Havelock, Beaufort and Goldsboro. In June 2008, the state opened the Clayton Bypass and, last December, it opened the first phase of the Goldsboro Bypass.
The Goldsboro Bypass is expected to be completed in 2015, at which point, Rains said, Princeton will be the last stop for beach-bound drivers along Highway 70 until Kinston.
"We hope it will be an opportunity for restaurants, industrial growth and other commercial centers," Rains said.
Rains says Princeton has already heard from some fast food restaurants and a truck stop, and he hopes the area will grow into an industrial or commercial park.
Although DOT officials said it could be years before the Highway 70 corridor is completed, Rains says Princeton will be ready.
"The attributes that we have, the infrastructure that we have in place, we have everything available for it to happen now," Rains said.
State officials say the widening will also help improve freight transportation from the North Carolina State port in Morehead City.