DOT Expected To Clear Way For Proposed Clayton Bypass

Posted June 2, 2005 6:28 a.m. EDT
Updated May 29, 2008 2:14 p.m. EDT

— On Thursday, the state Department of Transportation is expected to give the green light for the proposed Clayton bypass. It could make traffic a lot more bearable for commuters coming in from the East and vacationers heading to the coast.

For many, Highway 70 is the way to go. Near Clayton, the roadway can be a major headache.

"Especially on Friday afternoon, everybody's trying to get to the beach. You can't get through Clayton," motorist Leigh Ann Coats said.

The Clayton bypass will be a 7-mile highway designed to keep traffic moving past all of Clayton's stoplights, straight into a new Interstate 40 interchange. One thing that held the project up was environmental concerns about the tiny dwarf wedge mussel in nearby Swift Creek, but the protection area around the creek was expanded.

Some say the bypass will acually help the environment because less stopping means less pollution. For the beach-bound, it also means a quicker trip.

"The bypass could make it a lot easier. It's a lot harder to stop with a boat, so missing all the stoplights would make it easy," motorist David Beavers said.

The Department of Transportation could award the contract for the bypass at its meeting on Thursday. Construction is expected to start this summer and take at least two years.