LCC President expresses concerns over possible U.S. 70 bypass route

LCC President expresses concerns over possible U.S. 70 bypass route

LENOIR COUNTY - The North Carolina Department of Transportation plans to spend as much as 400 million dollars on a Kinston bypass project.

The DOT says it's in the beginning phases of this project, but have several routes drawn as possible pathways for the bypass to built.

Among those possible routes is one referred to as the "Shallow Route", a pathway that affects the Lenoir Community College because it runs through the campus property.

President Brantely Briley of Lenoir Community College said this can't happen.

"We should not be sacrificing the education of the citizens of Lenoir County, and the region, for a bypass that could go any number of different places other than the community college," Briley said.

The DOT admits that the bypass can be built a number of different places, but are trying to determine the best route that will fix the congestion problems that happen on U.S. 70 in Kinston. The "Shallow Route," is one of many possible solutions.

If the bypass is built based on the projected "Shallow Route," drawings, then not only does the bypass risk being built on the property of Lenoir Community College, but it could also impact several churches and the company, MasterBrand. 

"This plan would definitely hinder any further growth," Briley said. "The board is absolutely neutral on where the bypass goes, until it hits the property of Lenoir Community College."

In the drawing that is projected on the "Shallow Route," the bypass would potentially be built on property that the campus was planning to use for a Public Safety building. The site would train local law enforcement, fire and rescue crews.

The idea for the Public Safety Center was first pitched in 1998. Although the plan for the building is currently unfunded, it is intended, and there are designs to prove that, according to Briley.

DOT officials have listened to the concerns of Briley and other Board of Trustee members at LCC.  However, they haven't dismissed the route that could impact the college.

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