Duplin County residents had the chance to tell the state what they think about expanding a major roadway. The DOT plans to expand Highway 41, but the project would require the state to take land away from Wallace property owners. The state says it will pay market value for whatever land it needs for the project. But Wallace residents at Thursday's meeting say they aren't buying it. "We're looking at widening 41 to either a four lane with a 23 foot median or a three lane," Jay McInnis, the project engineer said. Engineers say that will improve traffic flow; something residents say needs to happen but they say the way the state wants to do it, isn't making sense. "They're talking about putting a median in the middle all that's going to do is restrict turning traffic," Joe Bryant, a Wallace Resident said. Once they decide on a plan, the state has to buy land from the Wallace residents who own it. Property owners worry they won't get a fair deal. "I suspect they're going to low ball it and everyone is going to end up making some lawyers extremely fortunate," Joe Bryant said. The widening project will start at intersection of 41 and 11 in Tin City. At Thursday's the workshop, a map showed a perimeter of 250 feet on either side of Highway 41 but the state says it won't need all that land for the project. "Our proposed right of way will only be 150 feet wide," Jay McInnis, the project engineer said. But residents say they are going to need more than 150 feet and that idea isn't sitting well. "What they've proposed up there is definitely not going to happen that way," resident Joe Bryant said. The project is still in it's preliminary stages. Resident feedback will be taken in to consideration. It will still be another two years before the DOT will buy any land from residents.
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