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Princeton mayor seeks I-42 traffic study

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PRINCETON ­— Mayor Don Rains wants a traffic study to determine how the N.C. Department of Transportation’s plans to upgrade U.S. 70 to Interstate 42 will affect current traffic volume and patterns throughout Princeton.

Rains has reached out to the Upper Coastal Plain Rural Planning Organization in Nashville. The Upper Coastal Plain region consists of Johnston, Wilson, Nash and Edgecombe counties.

According to the agency’s website, state lawmakers established rural transportation planning organizations in July 2000. Their purpose is to work with the NCDOT to plan rural transportation systems and to advise the department on rural transportation policy.

“This goal for this plan is to allow the Princeton Board of Commissioners to address and correct immediate concerns, as well as assist in long term transportation planning,” said Rains. “Our unqualified belief is that traffic will increase in this area upon completion of I-42 as travelers seek to access the interstate through one of the two planned interchanges.”

Rains said Princeton wants a traffic study that will determine current traffic patterns and volumes, predict the most likely traffic patterns and volumes after construction of I-42, evaluate current routes available and routes to be constructed with I-42 and propose additional routes or traffic control measures to address projected new patterns and volumes.

The mayor said he wants the study to take place while school’s in session to give a more accurate picture of potential problem areas.

Interstate 42 will bring many changes to Princeton and eastern North Carolina over the next few years.

“Please assist us in making sure that these are positive changes for the citizens of Princeton, other members of the RPO and the general motoring public,” Rains wrote in a July 3 letter to the Upper Coastal Plain agency.

The Princeton Board of Commissioners planned to discuss the proposal at Monday’s meeting, which was scheduled to take place after this edition of the Johnstonian News went to press.