Local News

Road Signs Delay Opening of Smithfield-Selma Bypass

Posted July 3, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— It's been slow going for a lot of Fourth of July travelers through the Smithfield-Selma area. The traffic lights along Highway 70 near I-95 are often a holiday bottleneck. Unfortunately, a traffic solution won't be ready until the next travel holiday.

One of the busiest roads that leads from point "A" to point "beach" is Highway 70. On a holiday weekend like the Fourth, traffic multiplies through the Smithfield-Selma area. It's not even time for the heavy stuff, and traffic near the intersection of Highway 70 and I-95 is already congested.

Many motorists would like to avoid the traffic lights and just keep on going. Actually, there is a plan to keep things going -- the Smithfield-Selma bypass. The 3.8 mile stretch of road features several bridges over congested areas, and no stops. It appears ready for traffic. But, for the busy Independence Day holiday, drivers will still have to depend on the old Highway 70.

Traveler Mike Bartlett says the road should have been open months ago. He wonders why it's not open now.

The department of transportation says there's a reason why the road won't make it for the holiday. Signs. The signs are sitting next to the road and haven't been installed yet. The state says it'll take five more weeks to get the signs up and get the road open. Back on old 70, Fourth of July travelers wish the work was complete.

Audrey Lamm says the bypass would've been nice for her trip to the beach this weekend. Then she and her husband could just zoom on through without stopping.

By the middle of August, beach travelers and everyone else will be able to use the new bypass. The Department of Transportation says construction is right on schedule. The total cost of the bypass is $12 million.