Mayors, city managers focus on transportation improvements to create ‘quad cities’
Kinston, Ayden and Greenville recently took their first step toward greater regional collaboration on a long-term effort to bring an interstate-level highway network to Eastern North Carolina.
Ayden Mayor Steve Tripp invited Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy, Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas and their respective town managers to his town for a gathering last Thursday.
“I think that it is important for our three communities to be on one accord and work collaboratively to invoke progress for our region,” Tripp stated. “I appreciate both Mayor Thomas and Mayor Murphy for accepting my invitation to meet and explore ways that our communities can partner with each other on issues that we all agree are important.”
Murphy said a consensus developed among the three mayors that the priority should be improving transportation assets to spur economic development in the region.
A number of transportation projects are slated to begin in the coming years around Kinston, Ayden and Greenville, including a southwestern U.S. 264 bypass near Greenville, which would affect Ayden, just 12 and-a-half miles south of Greenville, as well as the extension of Harvey Parkway and the building of a U.S. 70 bypass of Kinston, plus the extension of the existing Goldsboro bypass into western Lenoir County.
“If you look at a map of Eastern North Carolina, and if one of our major transportation goals for the Global TransPark is getting interstate shielding in Lenoir County, the best way to make that happen is for a northern bypass to connect to the (Interstate) 795 Goldsboro-Hwy. 70 bypass and have Harvey Parkway extend all the way to the southwestern (U.S.) 264 bypass of Ayden,” Murphy said.
The Kinston mayor said “a bird’s-eye view” shows Kinston, Greenville, Goldsboro and Wilson form “quad cities,” and they could form an “interstate loop.”
“The three mayors all agree that working with our congressional delegation and our legislators in Raleigh, this concept of a quad-cities interstate loop could be a reality and an economic engine for Eastern North Carolina,” Murphy said.
Thomas, Greenville’s mayor, stated: “I believe that we should not be working in a bubble and if there are opportunities that can best be accomplished by functioning as a team and using the influence of many to accomplish our common goals, then that is what we should be doing.”
The managers of the municipalities will begin collaborating on the administrative aspects of the proposal, such as the process of obtaining an interstate highway designation.
“It’s always good when different agencies can get together and talk about what issues they’re facing, compared with what issues you’re facing and see if there’s a common ground where you can help one another,” Kinston City Manager Tony Sears said. “I believe transportation is going to be one of those situations.”
David Anderson can be reached at 252-559-1077 orDavid.Anderson@Kinston.com. Follow him on Twitter at DavidFreePress.