Tuesday, March 5, 2024

More than $400 million NCDOT projects expected in Pender County in next decade

Projects totaling $418.5 million include the Hampstead Bypass – where eminent domain land acquisition is now in progress – roundabouts in Surf City, and street widening in Burgaw.

Video previewing the Hampstead Bypass courtesy of the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

PENDER COUNTY — With more than $400 million dollars worth of Pender County highway projects included in anticipated state transportation funding for 2020 – 2029, residents of Hampstead, Burgaw, and Surf City can expect extensive road construction projects over the next decade.

In January, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) released a draft of its 10-year plan that identified funding and scheduling for the construction of transportation projects across the state. The plan is known as the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).

According to Pender County Senior Planner Pat O’Mahony, the draft document will be available for public comment through the spring, with anticipated adoption by the state’s transportation board in early summer. Some of the projects will be required to compete for funding again during the development of the 2022–2031 STIP, he said.

The following project details were provided by O’Mahony in a memorandum published in February, along with information gathered from the 2019 STIP draft document:

Pender County NCDOT projects in the draft 2020-2029 STIP. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy Pender County)
Pender County NCDOT projects in the draft 2020-2029 STIP; cost figures are in thousands of dollars (for example, the Hampstead bypass cost will be $328.6 million). (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy Pender County)
  • Hampstead Bypass: The 12.3-mile roadway, from the N.C. 140 Bypass in New Hanover County to U.S. 17 north of Topsail High in Hampstead, is now “a funded and committed project, with construction slated to start in 2021,” according to O’Mahony. The total project cost was listed at $328.5 million. Planning, design, and eminent domain land acquisition is currently in progress, according to the STIP draft document.
  • Hampstead Median Project: “The conversion of U.S. 17 from Washington Acres Road to Sloop Point Loop Road in Hampstead to a superstreet, including construction of a median, continues to be a funded and committed project,” O’Mahony said. Scheduled construction has been pushed back to 2023 to allow the Hampstead Bypass to at least partially open in order to alleviate traffic on U.S. 17 before construction of the 5.5-mile superstreet begins, according to O’Mahony. Estimated total costs are $67.5 million.
  • Walker St./Wilmington St. Intersection Improvements (Burgaw): “The project was previously a roundabout but based on conversations with Burgaw staff and Allen Serkin with the Cape Fear Rural Planning Organization (RPO), the project is now simply intersection improvements,” O’Mahony said. Total estimated project costs are $2.8 million with right-of-way acquisition construction estimated to begin 2020.
  • Widening of N.C. 53 (Burgaw): This $4.7 million project includes the widening of N.C. 53 in the town of Burgaw to three lanes, from the U.S. 117 Bypass to Stag Park Road. “This project is funded and committed for construction,” O’Mahony said. Right-of-way acquisition and utility infrastructure is estimated to begin 2023; construction in 2025.
  • U.S. 17/N.C. 210 Continuous Green-T Intersection (Surf City): A $3 million reconfiguration of the U.S. 17 and N.C. 210 intersection to a “newer, innovative design” includes free-flow right-turn lanes from northbound U.S. 17 and from westbound N.C. 210, according to O’Mahony. Additionally, southbound U.S. 17 will have a “continuous green” to allow for southbound U.S. 17 traffic to be consistently free flowing. Funding is “likely to be committed according to the Cape Fear RPO,” O’Mahony said. Right-of-way acquisition and utility infrastructure is estimated to begin 2025; construction in 2027.
  • Roundabout at N.C. 210 and Watts Landing Rd. (Surf City): The proposed $2.3 million roundabout would remove “a busy, dangerous triangle intersection” and is intended to increase efficiency in the N.C. 210 corridor approaching Topsail Island, according to O’Mahony. N.C. 210 has already seen new roundabouts at each end of Surf City’s new high-rise bridge. “This project is funded, but this funding is not committed,” O’Mahony said, meaning the project will be required to compete again in the development of the next STIP for the years 2022–2031. If approved, construction is estimated to begin 2028.
  • Roundabout at N.C. 210, N.C. 50, and Belt Road (Surf City): The $7.3 million project would replace a traffic signal at the existent intersection with the goal of increasing efficiency to the N.C. 210 corridor approaching Topsail Island. Like the previous project, the project will have to compete for funding again in the 2022–2031 STIP. If committed, construction is estimated to begin either 2028 or 2029.

In addition to the county’s highway projects, the following project to expand the Henderson Field airport was also included:

  • Henderson Field (KACZ) Apron Expansion Phase 2: The $2.1 million project is the second phase of an apron expansion to provide additional capacity for transient aircraft at the public airport near Wallace. The first phase was completed in 2013, according to O’Mahony, and the second phase also includes the construction of a partial parallel taxiway to increase efficiency and safety of airport operations. “This project is fully funded, and according to the Cape Fear RPO, funding is likely to be committed,” O’Mahony said. He clarified that the project is independent of a $6.9 million project to extend the runway by 1,500 feet.

O’Mahony said county staff will work with the affected towns as well as officials from the Cape Fear Rural Planning Organization, Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Organization, and NCDOT in the submission and prioritization of projects for consideration. “Prioritization 6.0” for the 2022–2031 STIP will begin late-summer 2019, according to O’Mahony.

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