NEWTON GROVE — Commissioners are throwing their support behind the expansion of N.C. Highway 24 from Clinton to Interstate 40.
Town officials approved a resolution, signed by Mayor Gerald Darden during a Tuesday night meeting. North Carolina’s Department of Transportation plans to finish the widening of N.C. 24 to four lanes. With construction already underway, it does not include a 6-mile gap between Clinton and I-40.
“I think it would be a good thing to see a four-lane to 40,” Darden said to the commission.
Others such as Sampson’s Transportation Advisory Group would like to see it too. The beginning of the project included a four-lane 40 mile road from Cumberland County to I-40 near Warsaw. The majority of the segments were funded, leaving the 6-mile gap.
Local officials are being encouraged to send a proclamation to the state to encourage funding to address traffic issues. Council members from the City of Clinton recently supported the effort to complete the stretch.
According to the resolution, projected traffic is expected to have 30,000 in a day which may result in traffic congestion and a bottleneck at the point where the highway contracts from four lanes to two lanes. It states that the highway also serves as an emergency route for eastern communities and beaches. Also, agribusiness represents the largest economic sector in Sampson, which relies on many trucks and equipment. The economic impact is estimated at $1 billion.
N.C. 24 provides an east-west corridor for industrial, commercial military and emergency traffic in the Sandhills area of the state. It connects the metro areas of Fayetteville and Jacksonville.
“N.C. 24 serves as the main corridor for convoys traveling between Ft. Bragg and Camp Lejeune, the shortest route between these important bases,” the resolution states.
By not addressing infrastructure deficiencies, supports believe the region is at risk of losing its ability to compete in the economy during the future.
According to previous reports, the completion of a 10-mile stretch of N.C. 24 from Clinton to I-40 in Duplin was one of 21 projects under a $155 million bond proposal. The previous ConnectNC proposal included road improvements from Faircloth Freeway and Sunset Avenue to west of State Road 1920 (Moltonville Road), tallying $34 million alone.
But, the final $2 billion proposal which was recently approved by voters throughout the state, does not include any road improvements.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.