After months of fighting for Department of Transportation officials to erect a signal light at the intersection of N.C. 24 and N.C. 242, residents and travelers in the western portion of the county can celebrate, as DOT has announced greater plans.
According to a press release from N.C. DOT, in order to achieve a free flow of traffic at the intersection in the town of Roseboro, the state department has decided to construct an interstate-style interchange, which will only enhance the traffic pattern.
“There won’t be a signal,” Roseboro commissioner Alice Butler said. “It’s much better.”
This new approach, DOT officials stated, will improve safety at that location by replacing a proposed at-grade intersection that would have included traffic signals and stop signs. This will allow free-style movement through the area, aimed at eliminating potential intersection crashes, and reducing congestion.
“To say the least, we are extremely pleased that the process worked,” Butler added. “Not only did our public officials give us an opportunity to be heard, but they responded. This will make the roads much safer for all who travel them. That was the ultimate concern — safety.”
According to Butler, who called the announcement exciting news for Roseboro and Salemburg, N.C. 242 will cross over N.C. 24, still allowing for the two towns to be connected. Drivers will have a chance to exit off the newly widened N.C. 24 at the intersection via a ramp.
“With N.C. 242 crossing over the N.C. 24 bypass, travel on these highways will be much safer for everyone (including) students, parents, teachers, farmers, bus drivers and truck drivers,” Butler said.
The $150 million N.C. 24 widening project changes the highway from two to four lanes over 27.182 miles between Maxwell Road in Cumberland County and U.S. 421/701 in Clinton. Work on the project started in July 2013 and is expected to wrap up in spring 2018.
Once completed, it will yield important safety benefits as well as provide greater connectivity between I-95 and I-40, DOT officials have said. The wider, safer road will also allow for larger commercial vehicles transporting cargo to and from the port in Wilmington to other sections of the state.
The intersection has been a highly talked about topic among the residents in Roseboro and Salemburg, as well school board members and business owners, since the decision to extend the road way began.
According to Butler, on April 7, she took those concerns to the Roseboro NC STEP team, explaining how the planned intersection would require a right turn off N.C. 242 onto the N.C. 24 bypass, and then a U-turn back in the other direction on N.C. 24, and then another right turn.
“None of these movements would have a signal,” Butler stressed to the leadership committee’s members. “Most area citizens were not aware of the plan.”
The leadership team was provided with the names and addresses of DOT and public officials, to whom she suggested letters of concern be sent. The town of Roseboro, as well as Board of Education officials, too wrote letters expressing their concern.
Butler said regional DOT officials who are in charge of the road project were invited to the Roseboro town board meeting in May. Officials attended that meeting, which was filled with concerned residents from Roseboro, Salemburg and the surrounding area.
According to Butler, after the meeting, Greg Butler, a Roseboro citizen, contacted state Representative Leo Daughtry,R-Johnston, and Daughtry arranged for a meeting with the DOT Chief Engineer Michael Holder on June 12. Houston Crumpler, president of Crumpler Plastic Pipe, began to spearhead the campaign to get the intersection changed to an overpass interchange.
Butler and Crumpler, along with several representatives of Roseboro industries, community leaders and political representatives for Sen. Brent Jackson and Daughtry, met with Holder on June 12.
In August, DOT officials talked with group members and informed them there would be an interstate-style interchange at the busy intersection.
“Just like now, N.C. 242 traffic will be able to travel directly to Salemburg unimpeded between Roseboro and Salemburg,” Butler said. “Also, there will be ramps for traffic to get on and off of 24 bypass and onto N.C. 242 and vice versa.”
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SamsponInd. Like us on Facebook.