Southwest Bypass opens to traffic ahead of schedule


GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – A new Pitt County freeway that opened to traffic months ahead of schedule will relieve congestion and improve safety for travelers in the Greenville area.

The Southwest Bypass opened before 1 p.m. Thursday after a ribbon-cutting event hosted by N.C. Department of Transportation.

The bypass will do more than make travel easier and safer in Greenville, said Ronnie Keeter, NCDOT’s eastern chief deputy engineer.

“The Southwest Bypass will help boost economic development in and around Greenville,” Keeter said. “Transportation is about much more than building roads. It’s about connecting people to places, and the Southwest Bypass will create better connections in the region.”

The Southwest Bypass is a four-lane, 12.6-mile freeway that begins about 2 miles south of Ayden on N.C. 11, wraps around the west side of Ayden and Winterville and ends at the U.S. 264 Bypass west of Greenville. It includes five interchanges and 22 bridges. The speed limit on the road is 70 mph.

Construction on the Southwest Bypass began in late August 2016. The completion date was scheduled for June of 2020, but NCDOT and the contractor were able to complete it more than seven months in advance. 

Cadmus Capehart is an engineer for NCDOT, he says this $250 million dollar project will help improve traffic flow, especially making it easier for people to get to Vidant Medical Center a lot quicker.

PJ Connelly is the mayor of Greenville. He said, “Greenville is the medical hub, so for people to be able to get on the bypass and get there, I was talking to someone and they said they’re projecting you’ll be able to get from Ayden to Vidant in about 7 or 8 minutes.”

Allen Thomas was mayor of Greenville when the project began in 2016, he’s excited to see it finished. He says the bypass’ five interchanges will benefit the local economy.

“Ayden , Grifton, all these communities have so much to gain from just the development that will happen through here and the property values will go up. It’ll be great for this region.”


GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) As N.C. Department of Transportation continues with construction on the Southwest Bypass project​, a Pitt County interchange will close for one month starting next week.

Beginning at 7 a.m. on May 20, both lanes of U.S. 264 West will be closed.

Crews will replace the approach slabs for the bridge at the Greenville interchange.

The project is expected to take one month.

Drivers heading west on U.S. 264 to Stantonsburg Road will instead be detoured to Exit 73A and head towards Mozingo Road, Exit 71.

They will exit at that location, turn left at the end of the ramp, cross over U.S. 264 and turn left onto U.S. 264 East toward Stantonsburg Road. 

Drivers should anticipate needing extra time for their commute and approach the work zone with caution. 

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