Reprinted from Island Free Press
After a nearly 15-year effort, construction is about to begin on a 3.1-mile paved pathway in Hatteras village, which is expected to be completed by Aug 15.
The new pathway will stretch from the entrance to the Hatteras ferry docks to the northern village borders, and will include a loop along Eagle Pass Road, making all areas along the route safer and more accessible. A detailed map of the upcoming project can be viewed online.
On Friday, chairperson for the Hatteras Village Community Center District, or HVCCD, and advocate for the project, Dennis Robinson, signed a Notice to Proceed with building the pathway. Barnhill Contracting submitted the $1,165,027 winning bid and will oversee the about 150-day project.
Based on an estimated timeline, the initial surveying will begin in mid-March. Contractors will work on sawing and removals, attending to storm drains, and excavation and grading. The concrete work is expected to begin in the spring and will take about 63 days. This work will coincide with the construction of bridges and guardrails.
“We’re starting on Eagle Pass Road, because that’s the most critical area (of the project),” said Robinson, adding the construction should not impact local traffic. “The concrete pours will be predominantly in the morning, and road closures are not expected at this time.”
The project received a $342,640 Tourism Impact Grant in 2020, a third of the total project cost.
An additional $342,000 or so was collected through the village’s designation as a special tax district, and recently, the Hatteras Village Civic Association, through Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative, or CHEC, received a $360,000 loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program. The 10-year, no-interest loan stays in the community. When the loan is repaid, the money can be used for other island projects.
In September of 2020, the CHEC Board of Directors approved $10,725 to help fund the environmental assessment.
The project has been spearheaded by the Hatteras Village Community Center District Board of Trustees and the Hatteras Village Civic Association.
The initial planning for the multi-use pathway in Hatteras village began in 2006 with a corresponding project to establish the Outer Banks Scenic Byway. The Outer Banks Scenic Byway was completed and launched in 2016.
While the Scenic Byway project was in the works in 2013, similar pathways were constructed in Avon and the Tri-village communities of Rodanthe, Waves and Salvo, with a pathway for Hatteras village, as well as Buxton and Frisco, also on the list of future efforts.
Funding for the Hatteras project encountered several hurdles in the years that followed.
A N.C. House bill was passed in 2017 to allow for an election in the Hatteras Village Community Center District to decide whether part of the property tax revenue generated in the district could be used for the construction and maintenance of the multi-use pathway. The HVCCD District is a special tax district in Hatteras village established in 1981, and the district is subject to a special ad valorem tax on all taxable real property for the purpose of maintaining and operating the Hatteras Community Center, and other district-owned properties.
In the May 2018 primary election, the Pathway Referendum for Hatteras village residents passed with an impressive 94% of the vote, and survey work for the project began in May of 2019 by Albemarle & Associates, Ltd., the same company that worked on the existing Tri-villages and Avon pathways.
Stakeholders spent years applying for a variety of grants to help secure more funds.
“We’ve been working on it forever, because it started way back with the Scenic Byway committee,” said former HVCCD Chairperson Ricki Shepherd in a late 2020 interview. “After the funding (became a challenge), the tax district board decided to pursue this ourselves, and that’s basically what we’ve been doing.”
“I think it’s a relief to finally begin (construction),” said Robinson. “I know everybody in the village has wanted this for so long, so to be able to finally put this all together is amazing.”
This story is provided courtesy of the Island Free Press, a digital newspaper covering Hatteras and Ocracoke islands. Coastal Review Online is partnering with the Free Press to provide readers with more environmental and lifestyle stories of interest along our coast.