CARTERET COUNTY — The county transportation committee signed off on a list of 11 projects to submit to the N.C. Department of Transportation for consideration in the state’s 10-year construction plan.
The committee met March 18 via conference call rather than an in-person meeting at the recommendation of public health officials to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Despite some minor technical difficulties, the committee had a quorum and was able to conduct business as usual, voting unanimously on the finalized list of projects.
NCDOT is in the early stages of developing the 2023-32 State Transportation Improvement Plan, a 10-year program of construction funding and schedules. Across the state, metro and rural planning organizations, like the multi-county Down East RPO that Carteret County is part of, have been considering which projects to submit by the looming Friday, May 1 deadline. NCDOT will score each submitted project using a data-driven process known as strategic prioritization, or SPOT.
Each local organization has a limited number of submission slots – 20 per transportation mode, which are separated by highway, aviation, ferry and bike/pedestrian projects. The DERPO includes all of Carteret, Pamlico and Jones counties, as well as Craven County, excluding the New Bern metro area, and Onslow County, excluding the Jacksonville metro area.
County officials began several months ago with a list of dozens of potential transportation projects, ranging in scope from intersection improvements to construction of a third Bogue Banks bridge. Earlier this month, a subcommittee comprised of county and town representatives met to narrow down a shortlist of the county’s most desired projects.
“We had a really good meeting, and the purpose of that meeting was to put forward the projects that we were most interested in being prioritized for this round of SPOT,” said County Planning Director Gene Foxworth, who helped spearhead the subcommittee meeting. “We know we only have so many (submissions) to put projects in and put our best foot forward, and a lot of this process is playing that funding game to make sure we’re maximizing what we can get.”
DERPO Director B.J. Eversole noted Carteret County is getting the “lion’s share” of the organization’s 20 highway project submission slots, partly because the other counties, excluding the metro areas of Craven and Onslow, are generally more rural than Carteret. In addition, NCDOT division engineers can submit projects that don’t count toward the 20 slots, and engineers plan to submit several projects for other counties in the DERPO.
Mr. Eversole also said he feels the county’s selected projects will be competitive, and he expects many will score well and eventually receive funding. The list, along with the other counties’ choices, will be passed on to the DERPO’s transportation advisory committee for final approval Monday, March 30.
The county transportation committee approved the following list of transportation projects, including estimated costs, to be submitted to NCDOT for strategic prioritization:
• Taylor Notion Road from Highway 58 to Highway 24 – construct a roundabout at Taylor Notion Road and Highway 58, add left turn lane at eastbound Highway 24 to Taylor Notion Road, $4,709,000.
• Atlantic Beach Causeway from the Atlantic Beach bridge to Highway 58 – install medians on portions of the causeway, convert existing parking spaces west of roadway into a service road, install sidewalks or multi-use paths along both sides of roadway, $6,767,000.
• Bridges Street from Friendly Road to 20th Street – intersection improvements to the following intersections with Bridges Street: Friendly Road, N. 35th Street, Bonner Avenue, 23rd and 24th streets (to Atlantic Beach Causeway) and 20th Street, $10,838,000.
• Nine Mile Road/Nine Foot Road from Highway 70 Business to Highway 24 – modernize roadway with widened lanes and improved ditches, $11,319,000.
• Little Nine Road from Highway 70 to Highway 24 – widen the two lanes section to four lanes and construct an additional four-lane section to connect to Highway 24, $12,632,000.
• Sherwood Avenue Extension from Old Highway 58 to Taylor Notion Road – create extension from Sherwood Avenue from Old Highway 58 to Taylor Notion Road. An additional roadway would connect Sherwood Avenue Extension to White Oak Elementary School, $15,888,000.
• Arendell Street from 35th Street to 4th Street – intersection improvements to the following intersections with Arendell Street: N. 35th Street, N. 20th Street, N. 24th and 23rd streets (Atlantic Beach Causeway) and N. 4th Street. Work will be done concurrently with the Bridges Street and N. 4th Street intersections, $13,120,000.
• Highway 24 from Onslow County line to Highway 58 – upgrade the intersection of Highway 24 and Highway 58 to an interchange or other type of intersection improvement, convert Highway 24 into a superstreet within the town of Cedar Point, $67,795,000.
• Highway 24 from Red Barn Road to McCabe Road – convert highway into a superstreet, $53,994,000.
• Northern Carteret bypass from Highway 70 (Craven County line) to Beaufort bypass – create a future Interstate 42 bypass of Newport and Morehead City. Bring terminus of the future interstate to existing Beaufort bypass (Highway 70) in order to connect Port of Morehead City to interstate system, $447,367,000.
• Lake Road from Highway 70 (Havelock bypass) to Nine Foot Road – modernize roadway to 12-foot-wide lanes and 2-foot-wide paved shoulders, $9,343,000.
Carteret County is also submitting three “carryover” projects, which are included in the 2020-29 STIP but are scheduled in the back half of the plan, meaning they have to go through the strategic prioritization scoring process again. However, carryover projects do not count among the 20 available submission slots. The carryover projects are:
• Cedar Street (Highway 70) at Live Oak Street – construct roundabout, $2,214,000.
• Emerald Drive (Highway 58) at Loon Street – install roundabout, $2,214,000.
• Highway 70 and Highway 12 from Olga Road to Whitehurst Road – upgrade existing roadway, $11,735,000.
Contact Elise Clouser at firstname.lastname@example.org; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.