NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) – A long-awaited road project in Craven County is closer to becoming a reality.
Where the current-day NC 43 connector ends at the intersection of US 70 and 17, it partially continues for about a mile south where it dead ends.
However, a project is in the works to extend the NC 43 connector another two and a half miles all the way to US 17 Business.
“It connects 70 into 17 Business,” said Jeff Cabaniss, NCDOT engineer. “We had built part of it from 70 over to 43 several years ago. This is the extension that would bring it all the way over to parallel Trent Creek Road.”
The last leg was originally scheduled for 2020, but Cabaniss said that could be moved up by two years.
“We’ve had the preliminary plans and the environmental documents since 2005, so it’s one that we can move up and get on very quickly,” Cabaniss said. “It’s scheduled right now for right-of-way in 2018. So it’ll be one of the first projects that we start on.”
But much has changed since the plans were drawn up more than a decade ago, and it’s something the DOT may have to contend with as the project moves forward.
“That’s almost completely filled out now,” said Cabaniss while pointing to an older map of the project. “And there’s another subdivision right here if you go on the aerial to see it.”
Once that’s worked out and construction gets underway, the completed project could provide a big boost to that part of Craven County. Besides cutting off time on commutes, it’s in an area ripe for industrial development.
“It’s supposed to help with access management and alleviate some traffic,” said Cabaniss. “And also open up the area for some development in the future.”
Currently, these plans are preliminary. A final decision on whether the project will get underway next year will come from the state Board of Transportation. It’s expected to vote on the matter in June.