Officials to preview road projects


Staff Writer

Thursday, December 6, 2018

State transportation officials have set a date for a local open house about several road improvement projects totaling $128 million that include a Sunset Avenue interchange on Interstate 95.

A public meeting is scheduled for Dec. 13 to discuss projects aimed to make travel between Rocky Mount and Nashville much easier, said Andrew Barksdale, a spokesman for state Transportation Department Division 4, which includes Nash County.

The proposals rose through the State Transportation Improvement Program and received funding with planning input from the Rocky Mount Metropolitan Planning Organization, Nash County and the town of Nashville. The projects aim to improve traffic safety, reduce congestion and boost mobility to I-95, Barksdale said.

Overall, the projects include widening stretches of Eastern Avenue, Sunset Avenue and North Old Carriage Road and converting the Sunset Avenue bridge over Interstate 95 into a new interchange.

Officials need public feedback on the preliminary ideas before advertising for bids next year to complete the designs and construct the projects, which have a combined estimated $128 million cost, Barksdale said.

Folks can review the preliminary designs, ask questions and submit comments during the open house from 4 to 7 p.m. Dec. 13 at Brown Auditorium on the campus of Nash Community College at 522 N. Old Carriage Road.

The proposed projects include:

■ Widening Eastern Avenue between Red Oak and North Old Carriage roads into a four-lane road with a raised median. As part of the project, roundabouts would be constructed at three intersections along Eastern Avenue. Roundabouts improve safety because drivers must slow down when using them, and the structures improve traffic flow.

■ Widening North Old Carriage Road between Eastern Avenue and Green Hills Road. A portion of the route would become four lanes with a median and the rest would be widened to three lanes to create an open-center turn lane to reduce congestion and the risk of rear-end collisions.

■ Creating a new highway exit on I-95 at Sunset Avenue. The avenue now has a bridge over the interstate, but motorists cannot enter or exit the highway at this location. As part of the new interchange, Sunset Avenue would be widened to four lanes with a raised median between Halifax Road and North Old Carriage Road.

■ Replacing the North Old Carriage Loop Road interchange with U.S. 64. The new interchange will get a longer, taller bridge that also is wide enough to accommodate the additional lanes proposed for North Old Carriage Loop Road.

The preliminary design maps can be viewed on the NCDOT website. For more information or to send comments, contact Rachel Evans, an NCDOT Division 4 project manager, at 252-640-6434, rcevans@ncdot.gov or at P.O. Box 3165, Wilson, NC 27895.

The department will accept comments through Jan. 14.

NCDOT will provide auxiliary aids and services under the Americans with Disabilities Act for disabled people who wish to participate in the workshop. Anyone requiring special services should contact Samantha Borges at smborges@ncdot.gov as early as possible so that arrangements can be made.

People who do not speak English or have a limited ability to read, speak or understand English may receive interpretive services upon request prior to the meeting by calling 1-800-481-6494.