Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Hampstead Bypass on track for Fall 2020 construction as cost estimate approaches $263 million

Video courtesy of the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT).

The long-planned project will be costly, but promises to dramatically reduce traffic in parts of coastal Pender County, as well as providing better connectivity with neighbor counties.

HAMPSTEAD — The Hampstead Bypass is on schedule to open bids for construction in September 2020, with current total cost estimates topping a quarter-billion dollars.

According to Chad Kimes, Deputy Division Engineer for the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), the bypass design is roughly 90 percent complete as the state agency continues to contact property owners for right-of-way acquisition.

We’re excited about this project and we can’t stress enough: this is our top priority,” Kimes said.

The 13-mile, four-lane, divided highway will be built in two sections: the first will extend from I-140 to N.C. 210, connecting to the Military Cutoff extension project currently under construction, and the second from N.C. 210 to U.S. 17, just north of Topsail High School.

Kimes said the agency is finalizing its 10-year funding agenda known as STIP (State Transportation Improvement Program) within the next six weeks, after which estimated construction dates will be more accurate.

On Tuesday, NCDOT design engineer Trace Howell said the current total funding for the project is $263,976,000. The STIP funding for both sections of the bypass are broken down as follows:

  • Section A (I-40 to N.C. 210)
    Average daily traffic congestion comparisons for the year 2040, using projections gathered during the initial design of the Hampstead Bypass. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy NCDOT)
    Average daily traffic congestion comparisons for the year 2040, using projections gathered during the initial design of the Hampstead Bypass. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy NCDOT)
    • Construction – $119,000,000
    • Right of Way – $33,560,000
  • Section B (N.C. 210 to U.S. 17)
    • Construction – $81,600,000
    • Right of Way – $29,816,000

On average, Kimes said the bypass will reduce traffic on U.S. 17 in Hampstead by about 50 percent (see detailed average daily traffic congestion comparisons for the year 2040 below). He also said it will cut down overall travel time from Hampstead to areas further south significantly.

“If you’re on the north side of Hampstead and want to get to Wrightsville Beach, it’s going to cut off 10 to 15 minutes easily,” Kimes said. “If you want to go all the way to Brunswick County, you’ll be able to bypass all of Hampstead and all of Wilmington and get you all the way down to the south side of Leland.”

Aside from reducing traffic congestion in Hampstead, Kimes said the bypass was a historical infrastructure project for Pender County and will ultimately spark economic development by connecting the four coastal counties of the Cape Fear region.

In particular, he expects development to occur near the new interchanges and ramps connecting to Hoover Road and N.C. 210. Ultimately, he said the significance of the bypass will likely be seen in the connectivity it will provide between Onslow, Pender, New Hanover, and Brunswick counties.

That’s huge for economic development,” Kimes said. 

Average Daily Traffic Congestion Comparisons 2040

For a visual representation of the 2040 traffic projections listed below, view the NCDOT’s Hampstead Intersection Board.

Area of U.S. 17 in Hampstead No Bypass With Bypass
Dollar General/Pender EMS & Fire 56,000 56,000
Sloop Point Loop Road 60,600 60,600
Long Leaf Drive 61,400 61,400
Coastal Mini Storage/U-Haul 61,400 22,500
Transfer Station Road 62,300 22,000
North of Topsail Middle School 63,100 16,200
Topsail School Front Driveway 64,100 16,400
Hampstead Library 63,500 14,800
Carolina Pediatrics 74,100 23,800
Hampstead Furniture & Mattress 74,400 24,100
Hampstead Hardware 74,800 24,500
Sparrows Bend Drive 75,800 25,500
Pender County Government Annex 76,000 25,700
McDonald’s 77,800 23,000
N.C. 210 Intersection (Food Lion) 77,200 22,400
Port City Java 66,900 19,100
Washington Acres Road 66,200 17,600


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