Cape Carteret board approves construction contract for key trail section

Cape Carteret commissioners voted unanimously Monday night to award a contract for construction of a 493-foot elevated segment of the Cape Carteret Trail beginning here, at the end of a segment along Highway 24. (Brad Rich photo)

CAPE CARTERET — Town officials filled in the trickiest piece in the Cape Carteret Trail puzzle Monday night, awarding an $94,000 contract for construction of an elevated segment over wetlands associated with Deer Creek along the north side of Highway 24.

The 5-0 vote came during the Cape Carteret Board of Commissioners’ monthly meeting in town hall off Dolphin Street and virtually via GoToMeeting.

The new 493-foot-long elevated section of the trail will be made of concrete and begin where one completed segment ends just east of White Oak Elementary School. It eventually will continue, as asphalt at ground level, to the Handy Mart at the intersection of Highway 24 and Taylor Notion Road. That segment, which will connect to another completed section along Taylor Notion Road, has been delayed for years because of the high cost of elevating the walkway over the protected wetlands.

Earlier this year, Commissioner Steve Martin successfully convinced the board to make use of town motor vehicle tax revenue that had been sitting unused for years. Residents must pay $5 each year to get the auto sticker, and Mr. Martin said there was no reason not to use the money.

In June, after Mr. Martin made a request, town manager Zach Steffey asked Carteret County for money, and county commissioners voted to match the $63,750 in town motor vehicle tax funds.

County Commissioner Robin Comer, who represents western stretches of the county, including Cape Carteret, said the match followed precedent, as the county several years ago gave the town $125,000 for the trail, matching $125,000 in town funds.

Monday night, Mr. Steffey told the board, “The town has secured a building permit, (Coastal Area Management Act) minor development permit and (N.C. Department of Transportation) encroachment agreement for the project.

“Once a contractor has been selected, we can begin work on this critical trail section as soon as materials arrive,” Mr. Steffey added.

The town sought bids for construction over the wetlands and received three. Each bidder included the cost of a concrete segment and a wooden boardwalk segment.

The town opted to go with the more expensive concrete because it will be more durable, and Harber Marine Construction of Peletier won the contract with the low bid of $94,000. Of that, $81,500 is for the concreate and construction. Money for mobilization, traffic control, clearing, stabilization and erosion control brought the total to $94,000.

Other concrete bids were $108,000 from Crystal Coast Marine Construction of Emerald Isle and $155,000 from T.D. Eure Marine Construction of Beaufort.

The segment will comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The idea for the multi-use bike and pedestrian trail came from Mike Curtis, then the town’s attorney, and the Gateway Alliance for Western Carteret, a business-promotion group. The town approved the project, mirroring a popular path in Emerald Isle, in 2015 and hoped to have it finished by 2018 using grants and donations. It is to ultimately to run along Highway 24, Taylor Notion Road and Highway 58 in roughly a 3-mile triangle.

The town has received several small grants, but none recently, and voters in 2020 narrowly rejected a $1.2 million bond referendum that would have provided more than enough to complete the project. The town also applied for $500,000 from the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund but was not funded.

The segment from the elementary school to the completed section on Taylor Notion Road is crucial, Mr. Steffey told county commissioners in June, because it will link the school to the Western Carteret Public Library and The GYM, an aquatic and fitness center.

The town is continuing to seek grants and other possible funds to complete the entire section to Taylor Notion Road.

 

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

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