CAPE CARTERET — Town commissioners Monday night voted unanimously to rescind an August 2017 resolution that supported the state Department of Transportation’s Highway 24 Corridor Study.
The action, during the board’s monthly meeting in town hall off Dolphin Street, was in reaction to a preliminary feasibility study report that includes an option to virtually eliminate the center turn lane and many left turns along the highway, along with options to redesign the highway’s intersection with Highway 58.
The intersection redesign options would all result in loss of some businesses in town.
Town Manager Zach Steffey told the board he talked to an NCDOT representative who said if the town wanted to express its opposition to the options, the best way to do so would be to rescind support for the study.
At the time the board adopted its resolution of support in 2017, NCDOT was planning to add turn lanes at the major intersection and widen a section of Highway 58 that leads from the intersection to the high-rise bridge to Emerald Isle. That option is not mentioned in the recent preliminary study report from Kimley-Horne, a Raleigh consulting firm conducting the work.
“Based on what we’ve seen, it doesn’t seem friendly to our business community,” Mr. Steffey told the board.
Commissioners already expressed concern about the intersection change concept, but Mr. Steffey said “this is the next step in making clear our opposition.”
Commissioner Mike King agreed.
“I talked to the Cedar Point administrator (David Rief) and they are opposed, too,” he said.
The Cedar Point Board of Commissioners last month expressed serious reservations to NCDOT about options included in the study report, but stopped short of outright opposition, preferring to keep what Mr. Rief called “a seat at the table.”
Mr. Steffey told Cape Carteret commissioners rescinding support for the study means the town will not participate in awarding “points” that are compiled from local governments in favor of the changes. The points accumulated help determine whether projects are funded.
Under the feasibility study, the same project to remove center turn lanes could be done from Swansboro to Morehead City. The idea is to reduce what NCDOT calls “roadway conflicts,” in other words, reduce the number of intersections and limit left turns severely to improve safety and traffic flow.
After a brief discussion, Commissioner Don Miller – who was elected mayor pro-tem by the board Monday night – made the motion to rescind the 2017 resolution and received a second from Commissioner Jim Nalitz. They were joined in the affirmative by commissioners King, Steve Martin and Jeff Waters. Mayor Will Baker votes only to break ties.
Mr. Nalitz and Mr. Waters are new commissioners, elected in November, as is Mayor Baker.
Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email Brad@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.