by Justin Hill
Engineers presented an offsite detour, which would reroute traffic west on U.S. 70 to Skinner’s Bypass and across the King Street Bridge. The other option would involve shifting traffic between bridges while crews worked on the other span.
The offsite plan states the project will last 18 months and cost $13.5 million — a year shorter and $2.3 million less than the onsite plan.
Rep. Stephen LaRoque, R-Lenoir, said he was concerned about safety if a corridor to the city was cut off.
“People may die because of (the offsite detour),” LaRoque said. “I think we need to leave at least one of the bridges open while they work on the other one.”
Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy agreed with LaRoque about keeping one bridge open, but said a detoured plan seemed more likely to be implemented.
“The best solution (for our citizens and businesses) would be to have an onsite detour but my understanding from DOT is that is not possible,” Murphy said. “We need to at least speed up the Skinner’s Bypass project – a square loop bypass interchange – before we get to the South Queen Bridges.”