NCDOT makes offer on strips of land along Highway 24 for resiliency work, Cedar Point counters

The N.C. Department of Transportation is planning a living shoreline project to slow down erosion of the bank of the White Oak River on the north side of Highway 24 in extreme western Cedar Point and wants to buy two narrow pieces of land from the town to enable access to the water. (Brad Rich photo)

CEDAR POINT — The N.C. Department has offered the town of Cedar Point $4,525 for two narrow strips of property along the north side of Highway 58, but the board has opted to make a counteroffer.

Town manager David Rief told the Cedar Point Board of Commissioners of the state’s proposal May 25 during a monthly meeting in town hall, but commissioners opted to make a counteroffer to sell the property to NCDOT for twice that amount, $9,050.

The state needs the property to get access to the White Oak River to construct a living shoreline to try to slow or stop erosion of the bank of the river. The erosion has buckled the town sidewalk in the area in the past, and the fear is it will eventually undermine the highway.

Mr. Rief said he met with NCDOT officials in April in an effort to work out the agency’s original request asking the town donate the land to the state to facilitate the project. The agency then offered to buy the slivers of land.

Although the offer was $4,525, “their agent told me he thought it was worth more than that,” Mr. Rief said, “so we could just take the offer and move on or make a counteroffer.”

Commissioners wondered Tuesday night if the town could just hold on to the property and let NCDOT use it.

“We can’t hold on to it,” Mr. Rief replied. “They’ll just condemn it and take it.”

Commissioner John Nash proposed doubling the amount as a counteroffer, and the board agreed by consensus.

“We’ll see where it goes from there,” Mr. Rief said.

The two strips of land are not buildable, and Mr. Rief said he believes it’s likely the state will strongly consider the town’s counteroffer because it would probably cost NCDOT more in legal fees to go through the condemnation process.

At any rate, he said NCDOT officials told him they want to begin and complete the project early next year. The state will also have to acquire other privately owned land in the area in order to do the resilience project.

Mr. Rief added that the state will have to close at least the outer westbound lane of the highway to get it done, and early in the year is the best time to do so because of the high volume of traffic in the spring through fall. The highway is also a crucial link between Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville and the N.C. Port of Morehead City.

It’s possible, however, when the lane is closed, the center turn lane could be used for westbound traffic in that area.

Commissioners also wondered if NCDOT could go ahead and fix the sidewalk problem before then, but Mr. Rief said that won’t happen.

Cedar Point has had problems with washouts from heavy rains undermining and buckling other sections of sidewalk in the area and has had difficulty getting NCDOT to help. The town has spent its own money to repair the walkway.

This time, Mr. Rief said, NCDOT will pay for the work.

 

Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email brad@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.

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