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U.S. 70 gets Marine designation

A stretch of U.S. 70 between Havelock and New Bern has been designated the U.S. Marine Corps Highway.


May 17, 2010 10:34 AM
Suzanne Ulbrich
Freedom ENC

U.S. 17 from Holly Ridge to Edenton also received the designation.

Retired Marine Col. Bill Ayers, the interim executive director of the Museum of the Marine, began the initiative to rename the highways the U.S. Marine Corps Highway in honor of the Marine Corps, Gombar said.

With the help of N.C. Rep. Russell Tucker, Sen. Harry Brown and others, House Bill 1021, an act to designate these highways as the U.S. Marine Corps Highway, passed April 2.

Tucker said he was honored to be selected by the Museum of the Marine to shepherd the bill through the General Assembly.

“I think it’s great it is coming together. It’s a great way to promote not only the Marines but tourism up and down the coast,” Tucker said.

Rolling Thunder, Marine Corps Motorcycle Club and the Red and Blue Knights drove banners to each location along the highway where the ceremonies were held.

Until Roy Hall, the vice president of the Red Knights in North Carolina and the president of the Jacksonville Red Knights, started researching the history of the area he didn’t realize there were 17 Marine Corps stations along the stretch being dedicated.

“I’m really excited about this,” he said. “It was a long ride but a real honor to take the banner up to Edenton last night.”

Betty Schiefelbein, a member of Chapter N.C. 5 of the Rolling Thunder, said her ride to Pollocksville was “hot but nice.”

“The Marine Corps definitely deserves this recognition I think it’s wonderful,” she said.

Retired Lt. Col. Kim Kimball, a historian and the vice chairman of the Museum of the Marine, said the dedication reflects the Marine Corps’ history.

“The dedication of this highway is a testament to the memory and sacrifices (of the Marines and sailors),” he said.

The Museum of the Marine continues to work with corporate sponsors to find the funds needed to build the museum, said Ayers. About $20 million is still needed.

“We have raised over $8 million so far, but we have 10 years of operating expenses as part of that,” he said. “We’ve got a little over $3 million set aside just for construction — just sitting waiting to be used.”

Ayers said the planning and design is almost finished.

“We should have a viable set of construction documents by the end of summer. We simply need the money to get in the ground,” he said.