Mar 082013
 

 

reflector

By Wesley Brown

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Greenville City Council on Thursday took a step toward putting eastern North Carolina on the map for developers, manufacturers and wholesale distributors looking to locate in the area.

The seven-member panel signed a resolution endorsing the advancement of a $300 million interstate loop that will connect more than 100 miles of airports, medical centers, college campuses and industry across the region.

The mayors from Ayden and Kinston and commissioners from Pitt and Lenoir counties — on hand to watch the council sign the legislation — hailed the move as transformational.

At the core of the proposed highway system is the concept of “Quad East,” a cooperative network of communities developed by Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas to give the coastal plain a competitive economic advantage, much like the alliances formed in the Piedmont Triad, Research Triangle and Charlotte Metro areas.

“The Triangle and the Triad better watch out,” Ayden Mayor Steve Tripp said, adding he joined the effort as a major player after an “energetic, aggressive and motivated” pitch by Thomas. “We are going to have some great fun in the next five to 10 years.”

Now that the council has signed the Quad East resolution, the plan is to forward the petition to municipalities and boards of commissioners in Pitt, Greene, Lenoir, Wilson, Nash and Wayne counties in the next two months to start promoting it as a top-priority highway project in eastern North Carolina.

The Pitt County Board of Commissioners will consider the proposal on Monday. Early comments from commission chairman Jimmy Garris suggest the board will approve the measure.

“We have been talking about an Interstate to Greenville for many, many, many years and I think it will happen, as long as we as a region work together,” Garris said.

Conceptual drawings of the Quad East Interstate Loop released this week show a system that will be built around the existing Interstate 795 bypass in Wayne County.

Under the proposal, the travel circuit will retain 795 as its call numbers and include an estimated $75 million in federal and state upgrades to N.C. 11 and U.S. highways 70 and 264.

The high-speed corridors will be used to connect East Carolina University and Vidant Medical Center — through the $225 million, state funded Southwestern Bypass — with the Global Trans-Park in Kinston and the Seymour Johnson Air Force in Goldsboro.

Contact Wesley Brown at 252-329-9579 or wbrown@reflector.com. Follow him on Twitter @CityWatchdog.

via The Daily Reflector.

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