MOREHEAD CITY – The North Carolina Department of Transportation seeks public input on a proposed $45 million project to connect Bridges Street Extension to U.S. 70 closer to Newport
A drop-in meeting about the proposed design is from 4-7 p.m. Thursday, July 12, at the Crystal Coast Civic Center, 3505 Arendell St.
The project to relieve congestion on U.S. 70, improve mobility throughout the area and provide better access to the county’s industrial park on Business Drive, according to NCDOT, would add about 3 miles to the current Bridges Street Extension. It would also include widening the roadway along Business Drive to Old Airport Road, then travel westward on new location to connect to U.S. 70 in the vicinity of McCabe Road.
The three U.S. 70 tie-in alternatives now being considered are, from west to east, Sam Garner Road, Gladys Teasley Road and Old Murdoch Road, said Elizabeth Workman-Maurer, NCDOT’s manager of the project.
“These alternatives will be presented in large maps at the public meeting. The public can see the alignments and ask questions or provide their comments about the project.,” she explained.
Connections to McCabe Road and Sam Garner Road are not shown in an updated project map.
No formal presentation is to be made during the meeting but NCDOT representatives will be available to answer questions and receive comments. The comments and information received are to be taken into consideration as work on the project develops, NCDOT said.
The opportunity to submit written comments will be provided at the meeting or comments may be submitted by Aug. 13 by calling Workman-Maurer at 919-854-6221, emailing email@example.com or by mail to NCDOT Division 2, P.O. Box 1587, Greenville, NC 27835.
Members of a Carteret County transportation committee ranked the Bridges Street Extension project as a top priority in 2014, setting it up for funding consideration under NCDOT’s five-year spending plan.
Residents of Wildwood are worried about how the project will affect their unincorporated community just outside Morehead City. In February, Carteret County Commissioners approved a resolution supporting the Wildwood community’s position and urging NCDOT to select Old Murdoch Road as the tie-in to U.S. 70.
Michael Murdoch, a Wildwood native, says the project wasn’t properly vetted from the beginning. He cites the potential disruption of the community and damage to wetlands.
Murdoch is also concerned about sprawl and additional traffic.
“I feel like this thing needs to slow down and take more time to figure out what’s best for the county,” he said in an interview Monday.
He explained that Wildwood’s position is that Old Murdoch Road alternative is the least damaging to the community. While NCDOT’s study shows the Old Murdoch Road option would affect more property, it’s more environmentally sensitive than the Gladys Teasley Lane route. But Gladys Teasley Lane is already a low-lying area that frequently floods during heavy rains.
Gladys Teasley Lane connects to U.S. 70 directly across the highway from the entrance of Brandywine Bay, a gated, golf course community.
Noreen Barrett, president of the Brandywine Bay Owners Association Board of Directors, said Monday that association representatives have attended previous NCDOT meetings on the project.
A public meeting to present basic project information and receive feedback was held Jan. 11.
“At that time, the DOT assured us that despite the map showing parts of Brandywine and the golf course in their ‘study area,’ there would be no encroachment into Brandywine,” she said. “The board would encourage all Brandywine residents to attend the meeting on July 12 and ask questions regarding the plans for the study area.”
Disabled persons who wish to participate in the July 12 meeting and require auxiliary aids and services should contact Tony Gallagher, Environmental Analysis Unit, by phone 919-707-6069 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Persons who speak Spanish and have a limited ability to read, speak or understand English, may receive interpretive services upon request prior to the meeting by calling 800-481-6494.
Aquellas personas que hablan español o tienen limitaciones para leer, hablar o entender inglés, podrían recibir servicios de interpretación si los solicitan antes de la reunión llamando al 1-800-481-6494.