NCDOT officials unveil interstate 587
GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Greenville now has its first interstate connection. The NCDOT unveiled it Wednesday. You’ve probably seen those ‘Future 587′ signs up for a while. Now, the future is officially here.
The 37-mile stretch of road spanning Greene, Pitt, and Wilson Counties which was once US-264 is now Interstate 587. North Carolina Department of Transportation officials unveiled the new signs with pride Wednesday.
“We’re one of the largest cities in the entire country that does not have an interstate, and to be able to unveil that here today is gonna be great for us as a community and great for economic development in our area,” said Greenville Mayor P.J. Connelly.
Connelly said it will put Greenville on the map to attract more business developments. “Somebody that might be overseas that may be looking at having a presence in the United States, they might not know anything about Eastern Carolina, and the fact that we did not have an interstate that ran to Pitt County, we were automatically disqualified from that list, and so the fact that we’re able to check off that box is extremely important,” Connelly explained.
It’s been no easy project. Just replacing the 900 signs will take about $9 million. The good news is the roadwork is already complete.
“We have a four foot inside shoulder, we have a 12-foot outside shoulder, so that’s the last piece needed for actual infrastructure to get it to interstate quality,” explained NCDOT Division 2 Engineer.
State Representative Brian Farkas is on the state’s transportation committee and helped oversee the project. He says the connectivity brought on by the interstate will not only boost the economy, but improve safety. “I’ve worked in emergency management in the past myself, so I know that in coastal communities where we’ve got hurricanes happening more often than in other places, having that readily available, high quality interstate access helps us in emergency situations,” Farkas said.
All of the 900 signs will be replaced over time. There were some issues with a shortage of aluminum that delayed their production. But NCDOT leaders said they are were working to get them as quickly as possible.
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