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MERPO prioritizes area transportation projects

By Staff
Wants them included in DOT’s 2009-2015 TIP
By MIKE VOSS
Contributing Editor
The widening of U.S. Highway 17 to four lanes the entire length of its path through North Carolina and widening N.C. Highway 33 from two lanes to more than two lanes from Aurora to the Pitt County-Beaufort County lines are priority projects in Beaufort County according to the Mid-East Rural Planning Organization.
MERPO wants those projects and others included in the state’s Transportation Improvement Program for 2009-2015. MERPO was established to develop transportation for its three-county region — Beaufort, Pitt and Martin counties. City Manager James C. Smith is Washington’s representative on MERPO’s technical committee.
MERPO was formed to provide its members a continuing, comprehensive and cooperative transportation planing process.
MERPO was chartered May 21, 2002, with the goal of providing rural areas of Beaufort, Martin and Pitt counties an opportunity to work with the N.C. Department of Transportation in long-term and short-term transportation planning efforts on a regional basis. DOT’s Transportation Improvement Plan is the primary tool by which future transportation projects in the region are selected.
MERPO’s Transportation Advisory Committee recommends the following projects — in addition to the two widening projects involving U.S. 17 and N.C. 33 — in Beaufort and Martin counties be included in the 2009-2015 TIP: