The N.C. 42 corridor has
experienced rapid development following the completion of I-40 through
Johnston County in the early 1990s and, more recently, the U.S. 70 Bypass in 2008. The
region's proximity to Raleigh and Research Triangle Park are fueling the
growth, and new industries, businesses and residential subdivisions
continue to spread along the corridor.
The N.C. Department of Transportation first
identified the need to widen N.C. 42 between N.C. 50 to Cleveland Road,
as well as the section between I-40 to U.S. 70, in a 1996 feasibility
Between 2012 and 2015, the town of Clayton, the
Capital Area 2040 Metropolitan Transportation Plan, and the Johnston
County Comprehensive Transportation Plan adopted similar widening
proposals for N.C. 42.
In mid-2016, NCDOT began pre-construction planning for the proposed project.
NCDOT held a public meeting on the project in May 2018, and a preferred alternative was selected shortly thereafter. The necessary environmental documentation, known as a Categorical Exclusion, was completed later that same year.