Information for Developers
Johnston County is strategically located east of the State Capitol of Raleigh
in Wake County. The area forming the Wake County / Johnston County border has
recently developed as a vibrant commercial and housing market attracting retail
and residential opportunities for thousands of new residents. It is estimated
that over 70% of all new building permits issued within Johnston County occur
within this western portion of the County. For more information about obtaining
a permit, see
As a result of this growth, average daily traffic counts have exploded on the
interstate highway networks and four-lane divided highways of US 70 Business and
Bypass. Over one million cars per month traverse the north/south corridor established
by Interstate 95. An even larger volume of traffic utilizes US Highway 70 between I-95
and the State Capitol. Average daily traffic counts at strategic locations have
been catalogued and graphed since 1992 and can be obtained
or through the Economic Development Office.
As expected, retail sales have surged, reflecting the expanded population base as
well as shopping patterns of commuters. Johnston County annually exceeds $1 billion
per year in retail sales.
In spite of a population base that is expanding at a rate of 5% per year,
Johnston County has been able to maintain much of its rural character. Green space
areas are now encouraged for all major subdivisions. Golf course communities and
planned urban development areas strive to accent rolling topography and in many cases
pine plantations formally owned and managed by national timber companies.
The railroads within Johnston County have been instrumental in the development of all
11 municipalities. CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern Corporation provide rail
service to many local industries as well as passenger service for Amtrak.
These two railroads converge at Selma, North Carolina west of Exit #98 on Interstate 95.
The Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU)
is a 30-minute drive from Clayton. There are over 100 flights per day provided by
numerous carriers that include Southwest, US Airways, Delta Airlines, United
Airlines, AirTran, American, Continental, and more.
In addition to the RDU airport, the Johnston County Airport Authority operates an
airport located west of Smithfield. The airport maintains a 5500-foot long, 100-foot
wide runway that easily supports 65,000 pounds for dual-gear aircraft. The airport
offers a full instrument landing system (ILS) with distance measuring equipment and
associated approach lighting. Fuel is available, both JET A and AVGAS during normal
business hours and afterwards upon request. For more information, see the
Johnston County Airport web site.
Natural Gas, Electricity, Water and Wastewater
Piedmont Natural Gas operates and maintains a 10-inch natural gas main that
generally traverses Johnston County from east to west. In addition to transmitting
quantities of gas, numerous two-inch and four-inch laterals extend from this line
to provide gas service to the towns of Benson, Clayton, Smithfield, Selma, and
Wilson's Mills. See the Piedmont Natural Gas
web site for more information.
Electricity in Johnston County is currently provided by several different
electrical distributors. They include
Progress Energy (formally Carolina
Power & Light),
South River EMC.
The Towns of Smithfield, Selma, Benson, and Clayton provide electrical
service through their membership to North Carolina ElectriCities. The majority of
the County has electrical service provided by Progress Energy.
Utilities that include water and wastewater services are managed by the County and
independently by several County municipalities. The County has a 12 million gallon per
day (mgd) surface water treatment plant and bulk water purchase agreements with
public utilities in adjacent counties. The total supply capacity is 17.6 mgd. A 24”
and 16” diameter pipeline network extends east/west and north/south generally
tracking US Hwy. 70 and Interstate 95. The transmission network is supported by
interconnecting 16” and 12” mains, 17 booster pumping stations, and 11
elevated tanks with an aggregate storage volume of 3.8 million gallons. The Towns
of Benson, Clayton, Kenly, and Princeton operate separate wastewater treatment plants
while the Towns of Smithfield, Selma, Pine Level, Four Oaks, and a portion of the Town
of Clayton’s service areas is treated by the Central Johnston County Wastewater
Treatment Plant located in Smithfield. The Central Regional Plant has a capacity
of 9.5 mgd. Costs for County utility services can be obtained by directly contacting
the Public Utilities Department. For more information, see the
Public Utilities web site.
Education is a key component for all location decisions. Twenty-two percent of
Johnston County's workforce is employed in manufacturing. Manufacturing operations
include companies such as Caterpillar, Novo Nordisk, Grifols, and
more, as well as numerous distribution operations. You can view the
List of Current Manufacturing Facilities.
Because of interconnecting interstates and US highways, labor migration in and out
is accomplished easily. A significant portion of Johnston County's workforce commutes
to work outside the county, primarily in Wake County. Wake County is the home of
North Carolina State University (NCSU),
Wake Technical Community College,
NC State Government, and medical complexes
including Wake Medical, Rex Hospital, Duke Raleigh Hospital, as well as an extensive
Johnston Community College, located on a
100-acre campus in Smithfield, offers associate degree programs and specialty
training for industries. Under the new and expanding industry program, custom designed
courses offered by industries can be taught at no charge to new employees. This program
is also available to companies that are currently located here and are expanding.