Technicality Limits Big Rigs From Using Bypass

Posted September 19, 2007
Updated September 20, 2007

— The new Highway 117 bypass between Wilson and Goldsboro was supposed to better connect the two counties and other highways. That's good news, unless you're a trucker.

A technicality means big rigs can't use the highway. That leaves just one road that tractor-trailers can use to get into and out of Wayne County.

Troopers on the 117 bypass stay busy pulling over over-sized trucks. The highway is not an approved route for trucks with trailers longer than 48 feet.

N.C. Highway Patrol Trooper Mike Johnson said most of the truckers he pulls over don't even know the shortcut between Interstate 95 and Interstate 40 is off limits.

“You could probably write 10, 15 [tickets] a day,” he said.

Troopers said they enforce the law because of previous accidents. Ramps and lanes on unapproved roads make it tough for larger trucks to turn safely.

“Wayne County ranks near the very top in this area as crashes involving these large trucks off of these routes,” said N.C. Highway Patrol Lt. Everett Clendenin.

Department of Transportation officials said the 117 bypass was built to interstate standards, which should allow larger trucks. A federal committee denied the application because the bypass hits U.S. 264 first instead of reaching I-95 directly.

Highway 70 is the only approved road for larger trucks in Wayne County.

“It’s going to be an economic disaster for Wayne County,” said Wayne Aycock, safety director for Wilco Transportation.

All of Wilco’s trailers are 53 feet long.

“We're not deliberately trying to break the law,” Aycock said. “We want to comply with the law, but we just need some help on getting some other routes.”

The state appealed, and DOT officials hope the new 117 bypass will become an approved route by the end of this year.

For now, larger trucks caught on the shortcut will leave with a citation. Under the law, trucks can leave approved routes for three miles to make deliveries or get food or gas.

Some groups are trying to get more approved highways in Wayne County. The bypass issue could be up for discussion next week.


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  • slappyh99 Sep 20, 2007

    This road serves many useful purposes. If you have ever driven to Goldsboro on the old 117 then you know that the new 117 was long over due. It is a definite short cut and time saver not just between Wilson and Goldsboro but it also from other areas going to the southeastern part of NC. Going to Wilmington, Myrtle Beach you can now take the new 117 to I 40 with out having to go 40 or 50 miles out of your way on I 95 to get to I 40 and it’s a much nicer drive than traveling I 95. Also according to this story big truck can use 117 as long as they are pulling trailers 48’ or less in length.

  • pack-man Sep 20, 2007

    why was this road built in the first place. is serves no purpose. i drove it once to get to kinston and it took longer than taking 70. what a waste of money. perfect example of wasting money in places where it isn't needed. sure its a great road, would work a lot better if it connected raleigh and durham instead.

  • OBXPackMan Sep 19, 2007

    117 makes for a nice trip from Raleigh to Goldsboro also. It's not really any faster than Hwy 70 (with moderate traffic on 70), but it's wide open through the country haulin at 70 mph with no stop lights the whole way! Now that it's been mentioned I recall not seeing any big rigs on the route...

  • Sep 19, 2007

    We blame the DOT because they apparently did not consider the consequences of connecting this road (117) to a road not approved for longer trailers (264).

  • slappyh99 Sep 19, 2007

    It's actually a federal statute that was passed in 1982 called the Surface Transportation Assistance Act which regulates where trucks with trailers longer than 48' can travel. Imagine that the feds telling the states what to do. I'm sure it was probably passed to prevent losing federal dollars.

  • smcallah Sep 19, 2007

    Are any of you actually reading the article in its entirety?

    "Department of Transportation officials said the 117 bypass was built to interstate standards, which should allow larger trucks. A federal committee denied the application because the bypass hits 264 first instead of reaching I-95 directly."

    It's not the DOT's fault, why does everyone keep blaming the DOT here? The article clearly states that the DOT built the bypass to interstate standards and that it was the FEDS that denied the 53' trailer request.

  • wizard633 Sep 19, 2007

    Somebody in Raleigh needs some money. Not only have they made 117 off limits, but they have also made NC111, NC55, US13, NC222 off limits to 53' also, according to Tues. edition of the Goldsboro News-Argus. That is every main route in the county. Why enforce it now? Truckers have been using these routes for years with no problems.

  • slappyh99 Sep 19, 2007

    mrtwin..not sure about the signs but the speed limit is 70 mph. I drive the road frequently and it is a great highway. Saves a ton of time between Wilson and Goldsboro. And is also a short cut to I40.

  • mrtwinturbo Sep 19, 2007

    Are there any signs posted to state what is and is not allowed, if anyone is ticketed it will thrown out until it is posted. I have never seen the highway, always wanted that when I there. Pretty cool, what's the speed limit?

  • slappyh99 Sep 19, 2007

    If you will read the story the problem is not with the DOT design of the 117 bypass. It was built to interstate standards which will easily handle the 53’ trailers. The problem seems to be with the feeder roads that intersect the 117 bypass; they are not able to handle the larger trucks. Maybe they should be posted no thru trucks and allow the truckers to use the 117 bypass as it is a fantastic road that definitely saves time. It was needed for years. I know that DOT does some crazy things at times, but this highway design is first class.