For motorists who travel between Wilson and Goldsboro, it is a daily hassle. There is no efficient way to cover the 26-mile distance.
The North Carolina DOT wants to build a four-lane highway connecting the cities. It would start where the four-lane section of U.S. 117 meets U.S. 70 in Goldsboro. From there the new road would travel north to a proposed US 264 bypass in Wilson.
It would provide thousands of drivers with the first four-lane shortcut from I-40 near Goldsboro to I-95 in Wilson. Businesses believe lots of motorists' money would end up in Wayne and Wilson counties.
"Certainly commerce can move more throughout the eastern part of the state a lot quicker from Wayne County, and so we feel like we have something very valuable to sell right now," says John Peacock of the Chamber of Commerce.
Supporters believe the new highway would encourage new growth, much like I-40 did when it was completed in western Johnston County. It could also bring new housing to some of Wilson and Wayne County's most undeveloped areas.
"The real estate business is good here," realtor Iris Neal-Thomas said. "Our market's been real good this year. Our homes and our new construction have been real good. We expect this to just give us another boost."
The US 264 part in Wilson should start in 2000, and the Highway 117 bypass between Goldsboro and Wilson should begin in Oct. of 2001.