Governor says widening N.C. 43 will aid medical district, eastern N.C.

ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard, at right speaking with Gov. Mike Easley, said improvements to roads leading to the medical district will be a boon to the university and region. Photo by Cliff Hollis
GREENVILLE, N.C.  (June 21, 2004)  —  Improving access to Greenville’s medical district will continue with upgrades to N.C. 43 between Memorial Drive and Edgecombe County, said Gov. Mike Easley.

Easley attended a June 21 news conference at the Brody School of Medicine to unveil several road improvement projects for Greenville.

N.C. 43, a highway Easley said he knows well because he traveled it often growing up in neighboring Edgecombe County, will be resurfaced and upgraded with paved shoulders and new turn lanes at B’s Barbecue Road and N.C. 121 near Falkland Elementary School.

The 13-mile, $3.9 million project is expected to begin in March and be completed sometime next year.

The road project is one of several aimed at improving access to the growing health care service area surrounding Pitt County Memorial Hospital and the medical school, a driving force in the economy of eastern Carolina, officials said.

“You don’t have rural economic development without rural health care,” said Easley.

ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard said highways are a major symbol of progress and will bring significant changes to ECU and the medical district.

This spring, officials broke ground across Emergency Drive from the Warren Life Sciences Building for the $58 million Learning Village, which will house the School of Allied Health Sciences, School of Nursing and the Laupus Health Sciences Library.

In addition, ECU is awaiting legislative funding for a multi-million dollar cardiovascular disease institute to be built on the medical campus.

Marvin Blount III of Greenville, the state transportation board member representing Division 2 which includes Pitt County, announced the following improvement projects in addition to the N.C. 43 project:

--Extending Arlington Boulevard from Beasley Drive to N.C. 43 for a direct route to the hospital’s emergency department. Construction is expected to begin in 2005.

--Upgrading Allen Road to three lanes from U.S. 13 to Stantonsburg Road. Construction is expected in 2005.

--Continuing work on a planned connector between 10th Street and Stantonsburg Road, providing easier access between ECU’s main and west campuses. Construction is expected to begin in 2009 and will take up to two years. The 10th Street connector has been jointly funded by PCMH, ECU, the city of Greenville and DOT.

--Resurfacing 17 miles of U.S. 264 to the northwest bypass in Greenville and adding shoulder width in narrow areas. Paving from Greene County to Wilson is underway and is set for completion by the end of this year.

Blount was joined on the podium by N.C. Transportation Secretary Lyndo Tippett. Local legislators attending the event were Reps. John Kerr of Goldsboro, Marion McLawhorn of Grifton and Edith Warren of Farmville and Sen. Tony Moore of Winterville.

Contact: Crystal Baity | 252-744-2481