A new extension road connecting N.C. 24 (Sunset Avenue) with Westover Road, bypassing traffic associated with plaza and nearby Faircloth Freeway while opening up a new avenue for future development, is set to officially open this Saturday.
City of Clinton officials were notified by N.C. Department of Transportation representatives this week that beginning on Saturday, July 9, the DOT expects to open the Pierce Street extension to traffic. The new road will connect Westover Road to Sunset Avenue as well as provide additional access to Coharie Plaza (Lowe’s Shopping Center).
DOT crews will permanently close the Westover Road and Sunset Avenue intersection, located in front of Ribeyes Steakhouse of Clinton, once the Pierce Street extension is open.
The city has been discussing the Pierce Street extension — the existing Pierce Street runs parallel to Royal Lane within the city’s park — for well over a year now, with City Council approving a $500,000 project in spring 2015 to expand utilities for the stretch of new road.
The Pierce Street extension, an add-on to the ongoing N.C. 24 project, is anticipated to set the city up for potential economic development opportunities when N.C. 24 is ultimately expanded. DOT did not include utilities for Pierce Street in its plans. Last year, city officials said it would be more economical to move forward with the utilities project while the road is being constructed to prevent bigger dollars being spent in the future.
“The contractors have not installed the utilities yet,” City manager Shawn Purvis said Wednesday. “They intend to do that at a later date, which has not been precisely determined at this time.”
The add-on Pierce Street utilities and sidewalks along N.C. 24 are still to be installed, all as part of the ongoing N.C. 24 expansion.
“Nothing has changed in the work to be done,” Purvis noted, “it’s simply a matter of when the contractor prefers to do the installation.”
All totaled, the extension road adds about 3,000-plus feet of roadway and the new utilities would likely stretch along the southern side of the road “to allow future development without having to re-enter the right of way,” City engineer Russell Byrd has said.
Purvis concurred, saying the infrastructure added as part of the “significant project” would allow for potential connections to undeveloped property along the new road.
“All that property is opened up for potential development, whether it is off those lines or a connector road that may come off this Pierce extension to Main and Elizabeth (streets),” the city manager has said. “Once we have the utilities in, it just creates better opportunity for growth in that area.”
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