N.C. Department of Transportation’s Hampstead Bypass project inches closer to fruition.
After several years of feasibility studies, research and planning, N.C. Department of Transportation’s (NCDOT) Hampstead Bypass is coming ever so slightly closer to reality. Initiated to improve traffic conditions in the Hampstead corridor, this road project will eventually connect Military Cutoff Road in Wilmington to U.S. Highway 17 in Hampstead.
According to NCDOT Division Construction Engineer Kevin G. Bowen, the Military Cutoff Extension in Wilmington from U.S. Highway 17 Business to Wilmington Bypass (140) began construction in January 2018. In September 2020, work is scheduled to begin that next phase of development connecting Bypass 140 with N.C. Highway 210. That section of the project is considered Hampstead Bypass A.
Bowen points out that the B section of the project, from N.C. Highway 210 into U.S. Highway 17 in Hampstead, is still gathering right of way acquisition. “Gaining acquisition is expected to be completed prior to construction, which is scheduled for September 2020,” Bowen says.
June 2018’s opening of the Dan Owen Connector completed part of the project at the Hampstead end. An aerial view of the entire route can be seen online at NCDOT.gov/projects/US17.
Drivers in this region are also aware of additional NCDOT projects, including this year’s widening of N.C. Highway 172 (Sneads Ferry Road) from N.C. Highway 210 to the Camp Lejeune base entrance. “This work began in February 2019 and is approximately 30 percent complete,” Bowen says.
“Construction is expected to be completed by May 2021.” If you’ve never considered what it takes to get a roadway constructed, the NCDOT website notes that years of extensive planning and study are needed before the department ever begins building a roadway. In developing a 2014 Feasibility Report for the Hampstead Bypass project, NCDOT conferred with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, architects, planners and project developers. Close looks at potential impact on wildlife, neighborhood traffic noise, wetlands, water run-off and any dangers of contamination are all considered. Furthermore, alternate routes are selected, mapped and evaluated before a final route is chosen.
The in-depth, six-phased process of building a road begins with NCDOT assisting municipalities in determining needs for their communities. Once a project is programmed for funding, NCDOT initiates studies and the project enters into a development phase that includes getting feedback from the public and analyzing how a proposed road might affect people living and working in the area as well as its impact on the environment.
Once plan development is complete and engineers have determined how and exactly where a road will be built, NCDOT typically begins acquiring any necessary property (right of way acquisition) to accommodate the project and then awards a construction contract. Only then does construction begin.
Throughout the process, NCDOT’s Value Management Office ensures that the department responsibly and efficiently uses resources and funding.
Stay tuned and, one day, look forward to an easier way to get around Pender County.