Highway U.S. 70 is being divided to create a bypass from north of Pine Grove to the north of the Carteret County line. This 10-mile, the four-lane freeway is being built to provide a high-speed alternative to U.S. 70 around Havelock.
The Havelock Bypass is part of the U.S. 70 Corridor that is being built from Raleigh to Morehead City. The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) says the improvements to U.S. 70 are intended to make the route more accessible for freight and military personnel and for motorists who are traveling to beaches. The NCDOT says that improvements would ease congestion in cities along the corridor and would contribute to economic development in these rural parts of North Carolina.
U.S. 70 is also a hurricane evacuation route, so the NCDOT says improvements will impact safety, as well.
Carteret County News: “Route chosen for Havelock bypass”
- Traffic Analysis, Exploration of Alternatives: Expected in 2013
- Right-of-Way Acquisitions: To begin August 2013
- Draft Environmental Impact Statement: July 2011
- Feasibility Study: July 2009
- U.S. 70 Corridor Summit: May 2005
Right-of-way acquisitions are expected to begin in August 2013, and $13.4 million has been budgeted for land purchases.
The NCDOT has not announced how many homes or businesses are expected to be affected by construction, though a preferred route has been chosen. The selected route, known as Corridor 3, would be constructed on the southwest side of Havelock, beginning north of the Havelock city limits and extending to the Carteret County line. The route would bypass Havelock and the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.
The NCDOT has said that the route would have the least impact on streams in the region, the second-lowest number of relocations, the second-lowest amount of impact on prime farmland, the second shortest length, and the lowest estimated cost. It would also lessen the impact on the Croatan National Forest.
Conservation groups have criticized the environmental study for the project, saying that it contains a number of errors and does not properly account for the anticipated impact the project would have on the Croatan National Forest and the plant and wildlife population that it contains.
Some citizens have also started a Facebook page that opposes the project for the impact it will have on local businesses and forest land.
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