Monday, April 22, 2024

Pender County looking to private developers to help fund sidewalk project on Highway 17

The Hampstead Median Project will create nearly 6-miles of medians on U.S. Highway 17, as well as 11-miles of sidewalk

The Hampstead Median Project will bring 11-miles of sidewalks to Highway 17 in Pender County (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy Pender County)
The Hampstead Median Project will bring 11-miles of sidewalks to Highway 17 in Pender County (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy Pender County)

HAMPSTEAD—The North Carolina Department of Transportation is staying busy in the Cape Fear Region as new residents continue to flock to the coast. Hampstead is one of the fastest growing regions in Pender County and the NCDOT has big plans for the area.

One of the largest projects in the Hampstead area is the Hampstead Bypass. While the bypass is a project designed to alleviate traffic, another project in the area will help both vehicles and pedestrians.

The project known as the Hampstead Median Project, or U-5732, will not only bring nearly 6-miles of medians to U.S. Highway 17, but will also provide 11-miles of sidewalk on both sides of the highway. This is due to the Pender County Board of Commissioners approving a local cost match for the inclusion of sidewalks in December 2017.

According to memo from Pender County planning staff to the Planning Board.  “Based on NCDOT policy, bicycle and pedestrian improvements included in highway projects are funded in part by NCDOT and in part by the subject municipality, with the funding percentage based on population. For U-5732, Pender County is required to fund 40-percent of the bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure construction costs, and NCDOT will cover the remaining 60-percent.”

The median will begin near Washington Acres Road and terminate near Sloop Point Road.

“Project U-5732 will establish a median along current US Highway 17 between Washington Acres Road and Sloop Point Loop Road, approximately 5.5 miles. Pedestrian infrastructure improvements, in the form of a 5-foot concrete sidewalk along both sides of US Highway 17 throughout the entire length of the project …” according to the memo.

The county’s share of the project cost is $760,000 and will come from multiple sources but the majority coming from the Pender County Health Department.

County staff is now trying to find more ways to provide funding for the project and are now looking to private developers to help fund this public project, known as payment-in-lieu.

“A commonly-used funding strategy for sidewalk infrastructure in many communities is a payment-in-lieu (also known as fee-in-lieu) program in which, instead of developers constructing a sidewalk, they pay a certain amount into a fund solely dedicated for the construction of sidewalks. The amount that a developer pays is typically determined via a certain price per linear foot of road frontage of a parcel,” according to the report.

The county has, so far, identified four properties along the corridor with developers who have committed to contribute to the project.

The project is still some time off and not planned for construction until 2023.

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