GREENVILLE, PITT COUNTY - City and county leaders held a news conference Monday afternoon at Greenville's City Hall to discuss a project to link four cities by highways.
They said the project called "Quad-East" will promote economic growth.
The four highways in question would connect Wilson, Greenville, Kinston and Goldsboro. 3 of the sides of the quad already exist—it's the part from Kinston to Greenville that remains to be built.
The idea is to connect the cities, to benefit the medical school in Greenville, the Global Transpark in Kinston, and Seymour-Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro.
"You can do 2 things. One you can do nothing, or two you can take a dream and a vision and make it a reality," Ayden's mayor Stephen Tripp said.
"We modeled this similar to what the Triad and Charlotte metro areas have done. We learned from those that are doing it successfully," Greenville's mayor Allen Thomas said.
The project, which has been in the works for quite some time is making headway, especially now that all the counties involved in this project have unanimously passed resolutions supporting it.
"So far we have everything in place. The Goldsboro bypass at 70, 795, we have existing 264 and we have parts of 11 [completed]," Lenoir County commissioner Mac Daughety said.
However, they're still missing part of the Harvey Parkway, which connects to the Global Transpark in Lenoir County and the Southwest 264 bypass connecting Kinston to Greenville.
"We have all the ingredients and the infrastructure in place to bring industrial growth and jobs. What we have stumbled on is each other. We have not helped each other in the way that we can and now by us putting our forces together and coordinating our efforts and working together as a team it's going to make a huge difference," Tripp said.
The group said the Quad-East loop project doesn't just benefit the large cities. It will also help bring growth to small towns in Greene County found in the area inside the loop.
"This is like the best of all worlds for them," Daughety said.
"It's not about us. It has nothing to do with the leadership. It has to do with the people who we serve who need jobs and who are suffering," Tripp said.
"We see this as a major step forward. A very first step in something we feel is going to have ramifications for decades going forward," Thomas said.
The group needs state funding to complete the project. They hope to finish the Harvey Parkway in Kinston in 2014 or 2015. Leaders said the entire project, however, may not be complete for another 15 years.