ROSEBORO — The new N.C. 24 highway is expected to bypass Roseboro, just as it will Autryville, and the town of approximately 1,200 citizens is already feeling some of the changes of the new expansion. While there are concerns about the town being bypassed, local officials hope to offset some of the potential concerns of lost businesses by increasing signage pointing people into Roseboro.
Town commissioner Alice Butler said she and others in the NC STEP program are working diligently to get new signage that will offer travelers information on places they can stop in Roseboro. The hope, she said, is to promote Roseboro and to encourage folks to stop in, visit and shop.
“We are working with DOT to see what signs we can get for Roseboro,” explained Butler in a telephone interview Monday. The new signage would include directions to local businesses, and go perhaps in the vein of signs like what you see on the interstate, if businesses are interested in participating.”
Butler said businesses like Hardees may have a chance to get in on the signage, but exactly what that signage is going to be is still undecided. Butler and other members of the NC STEP team are meeting on July 22 with Department of Transportation officials in an effort to hash out the new plans regarding signage and other issues.
Roseboro Mayor David Alexander said that he, too, is staying positive about the new expansion, looking for the ways the road can benefit the town rather than how the bypass can hurt.
“My thing is I don’t think that Roseboro is going to have a problem,” the mayor stressed.
“There is a tremendous amount of traffic on Hwy. 24 going from Charlotte to the coast,” Alexander explained, noting that with all the traffic coming through the area, particularly in the high volumes expected, it can be far more of a benefit to the town than a detriment.
“I think it will bring business, especially if, as town officials, we do what we are supposed to do,” he stressed. “It will help and benefit Roseboro.”
The mayor believes the expanded N.C. 24 can be a drawing card.
“I think it will be OK,” said Alexander.
“Roseboro has gotten pretty quiet … It will let people know where we are going and (maybe) they will want to settle in Roseboro,” Alexander said.
The mayor stressed that Roseboro has not lost any businesses because of the expansion. “The only change that any business has experienced is at MST, Mid South Trucking, where they had to move over their trucks to a different side of the property.
“They got other land right next door,” said Alexander. “I don’t think we will have a problem. This will take a lot of traffic out of Roseboro but I think people will still come to town.”
He said that because the expansion is going through a lot of open land to the north of the town they have not had the impact like what is being seen in Autryville.
The town of Autryville has lost water customers and also has had to deal with infrastructure changes to its water system.
The complete project, running from Stedman in Cumberland County to Clinton in Sampson, and has been talked about for years, is expected to be completed sometime in 2017.
Emily M. Hobbs can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 122. Follow us on Twitter: @SampsonInd