Serving Kenly, Selma, Smithfield, Princeton & Pine Level since 1973

Clayton celebrates a road win

Funding will allow extension of N.C. 42 East to Ranch Road, a quicker route to bypass

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CLAYTON — Commuters on N.C. 42 East can look forward to a shorter route to the U.S. 70 bypass of Clayton.

The town last week said it had received word of complete funding for a project that will extend N.C. 42 East to Ranch Road, which has an interchange with U.S. 70.

“Traffic congestion remains one of the top concerns of our residents, and this project is one of those rare projects that you can say will truly benefit everyone,” Town Manager Adam Lindsay said in a news release.

In Clayton, N.C. 42 East dead-ends on U.S. 70 Business near the Sheetz convenience store. N.C. 42 West begins almost two miles and four traffic lights later on U.S. 70 Business. The extension of N.C. 42 East to Ranch Road will allow drivers to reach U.S. 70 in just one mile, the town noted in the news release.

The road project had already secured $8 million in federal funding through the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, which helps score and fund road projects in the Triangle. But the project needed a $1.6 million local match with a deadline fast approaching, the news release said.

That’s when N.C. Rep. Donna White stepped in, the town said. “Only days before the deadline to secure the local match, Rep. White worked to convince N.C. Speaker of the House Tim Moore to support the match,” the news release stated. “In the end, he and N.C. Senate Pro Tem Phil Berger recognized the importance of the project for the region and approved joint funding from both houses of the General Assembly.”

Mayor Jody McLeod said White’s help made all the difference. “We were in the 11th hour, about to lose more than $8 million in federal funding, and still needing to go through at least three NCDOT approval meetings,” he said. “We went to Donna, she believed in the benefits this road extension would bring to residents and businesses, and she made it happen. The project and funding would have been lost if not for her.”

White called the funding an incredible victory for Clayton. “I worked hard on this, not only because I knew it would help those who live and work in Johnston County, but it would help our major industry in the area, like Caterpillar, Novo Nordisk, Grifols and Guy C. Lee Building Supplies,” she said. “One of my priorities is to ensure the success of our local economy, and this extension will improve the delivery demands and truck routing for these large manufacturers, giving them more direct, faster routes.”

“And for families, I hope it means getting where they need to go is a little easier as the western part of Johnston County continues to grow,” White added.

The town, in the news release, pointed to the many benefits of the project:

• In addition to helping industry with trucking and delivery routes, the extension will become a detour when the lengthy N.C. 42 West widening project begins in 2025.

• The extension will relieve traffic congestion on U.S. 70 Business between N.C. 42 East and N.C. 42 West.

• Clayton Fire Station No. 2 will be able to respond more quickly to property owners and residents who live south of U.S. 70 Business.

• The extension will serve as an alternate route for residents who now use Powhatan Road to reach the U.S. 70 bypass.

“Local residents will see the benefits because it is going to relieve some of their traffic concerns,” Lindsay said.

The news release said that right-of-way acquisition could begin later this year.