James City residents, businesses weigh in on NCDOT U.S. 70 improvement project

Local

A video from the North Carolina Department of Transportation shows the future of U.S. 70 in James City.

The five-mile project will extend from East Thurman Road to the Neuse River Bridge.

NCDOT officials say it is part of a larger project to bring U.S. 70 to interstate standards.

Five traffic lights will be removed and replaced with interchanges.

According to their project overview, the design will help benefit military interconnectivity, economic development, and reduce traffic congestion.

“If you go through…the morning time or late afternoon it’s a very very congested area. It’s very hard to get on and off the road,” said Preston Hunter,  NCDOT division engineer.

New Bern resident Jasper Riggs says traffic in the area can be a problem, but the road improvement project will help the situation.

“There’s things that need to be done to correct it, cause there are problems and part of the problem is the traffic is the accidents,” said Riggs.

But establishments like Brice’s Creek Bible Church will be impacted. The building will be one of many forced to relocate.

“We have 32 acres thankfully that the Lord has given us…our relocation plan would be to build down there,” said Phil Hamilton, associate pastor of youth and children at Brice’s Creek Bible Church.

Hamilton said the project is a blessing in disguise for the church.

“Despite the headaches, it’s going to be a good thing for everybody.”

But it’s a headache for the owner of B&J Seafood. He says his shop will be overlooked and missed, along with many other businesses in the area.

The project is expected to begin in the summer of 2020.

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