MOREHEAD CITY — The county transportation committee will meet Wednesday to discuss proposed and planned transportation projects throughout Carteret County.

The committee, slated to meet at 3 p.m. in Room 1 of the Crystal Coast Civic Center, is comprised of representatives from all corners of the county. Its members review proposed transportation projects and make recommendations to the N.C. Department of Transportation.

The committee is in the midst of identifying projects it would like to submit for consideration in the 2023-32 State Transportation Improvement Program, a 10-year plan that maps funding and construction schedules for transportation projects. The window for local entities to submit projects for scoring is open until May.

Local planning organizations are responsible for submitting projects to NCDOT, with Carteret County falling under the Down East Rural Planning Organization. Each RPO or metropolitan planning organization has a set number of projects it can submit for consideration, so Carteret County projects compete against those from Craven, Jones, Onslow and Pamlico counties for inclusion.

According to the upcoming meeting agenda, under new business, the transportation committee will discuss STIP project prioritization Wednesday. The committee has briefly talked potential projects at recent meetings, but it will begin to hone in on its top priorities this month.

A representative from the Eastern Carolina Council of Governments, which the DERPO falls under, will be present to discuss projects with the committee. The public is welcome to attend transportation committee meetings and provide input on proposed projects.

In other new business, the committee will hear an update from NCDOT representative Diane Hampton on an ongoing Highway 24 corridor study. The results of that study could help inform some of the projects the committee submits for the STIP.

Ms. Hampton will also provide updates on NCDOT projects scheduled or already underway in Carteret County.

The meeting agenda also includes two items of old business for the committee to consider. One item involves a project included in the back half of the 2020-29 STIP for a roundabout at Highway 58 and Loon Street in Emerald Isle. Projects scheduled in the last five years of the STIP can “carry over” to the new STIP but must be resubmitted and rescored by NCDOT for continued viability, so the committee will decide whether it still wants to see that particular project carried out.

The other old business item is a discussion on a potential third bridge to Bogue Banks. Talks of a new bridge to the island have taken place as far back as the 1990s, but the county has never formally pursued such a project. The committee has renewed discussions of a third bridge in recent months and will revisit the topic again Wednesday.

Construction of a new bridge would be an expensive project, so the committee has proposed making it a toll bridge to offset costs and make the project more competitive for funding purposes. 

Contact Elise Clouser at elise@thenewstimes.com; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.

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