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Before the widening of U.S. 17 in Hampstead, did the N.C. DOT propose a bypass?

Ken Little
Traffic U.S. 17 Hampstead

Traffic on U.S. 17 in Hampstead. (StarNews file photo)

There was talk about such a project, but the rubber never hit the road when it came down to building a bypass, said Allen Pope, N.C. Department of Transportation Division 3 engineer.

“Most of our staff that worked on the environmental document and initial discussion of the U.S. 17 improvements no longer works with DOT. However, I remember several meetings and discussion about a bypass as U.S. 17 was being widened,” Pope said. “My recollection was all the discussion ended when Castle Bay development was approved and built.”

The U.S. 17 widening projects were done in the late 1990s, Pope said.

According to N.C. DOT’s Project Development and Environmental Analysis unit, the bypass was considered as an alternative when the current upgrades to U.S. 17 were being built in Pender County.

Specifically, the environmental analysis of TIP Project R-2405 did examine a bypass as an alternative, Pope said.

“However, it determined that the then two-lane road (existing U.S. 17) would not accommodate projected traffic, even if a bypass reduced traffic on the existing road by 50 percent,” Pope said. “The EA acknowledged that a bypass would be needed in the future.”

The design year for R-2405 in the environmental analysis was 2010.

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