The N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) unveiled its draft 10-Year transportation plan for 2020-2029 at the monthly Board of Transportation meeting in Raleigh on Thursday, and the plan included the construction of a second passenger ferry for the Ocracoke / Hatteras route, beginning in 2027.
The plan, called the Draft 2020-2029 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), includes seven new highway projects in Division 1, which covers Dare and Hyde counties, as well as Bertie, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Gates, Hertford, Martin, Northampton, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell and Washington counties.
The department’s 10-year plan is updated every two years. Projects scheduled in the first five years of the plan are considered commitments, and were not re-evaluated when the new plan was developed.
But projects in the final five years of each 10-year plan are prioritized again for consideration in the next plan. The Board of Transportation is expected to consider final approval of the draft plan this summer.
The new projects for Division One include:
- A second passenger ferry for the Ocracoke Express route between Hatteras and Ocracoke. Construction starts in 2027.
- Roadway safety improvements for the two-lane section of U.S. 64 between Columbia and the Alligator River Bridge in Tyrrell County. Construction starts in 2027.
- Roadway safety improvements for Newland Road between A Canal Road and Shore Drive in Washington County. Construction starts in 2027.
- Roadway improvements for the two-lane section of N.C. 32 between N.C. 37 and the Virginia state line in Gates and Chowan counties. Construction starts in 2027.
- Improvements for the intersection of U.S. 13/17 and Main Street in Williamston in Martin County. Construction starts in 2027.
“This updated transportation plan confirms NCDOT’s commitment to better, safer, more modern roads across rural northeastern North Carolina,” said Division One Transportation Board Member Allen Moran. “The new improvements to vital, two-lane highways and intersections will give our residents and visitors easier and safer access to jobs, education and other opportunities.”
The draft STIP includes projects across all transportation modes and in all 100 counties in the state. The list includes 1,266 highway projects, 86 aviation, 235 bicycle and pedestrian, six ferry, 23 public transit and 47 rail projects selected on statewide, regional and division levels. The projects were prioritized based on technical data as well as input from local officials and residents.
The draft plan includes about 500 changes in major highway projects from the current STIP. Half of the changes include new road projects. Also, there were about 200 projects where a schedule was changed for planning or budgeting needs, and 10 projects whose schedules were accelerated. A statewide list of these major highway changes can be found on the NCDOT STIP web page.
Projects that did not score high enough in the evaluation process to be funded at the statewide level rolled over to the regional level for consideration. Projects that were not funded at the regional level could still be considered at the division level. This cascading aspect of the process helps ensure that local input plays an important role in prioritizing projects for funding.
Division One will also host an in-house week-long public comment opportunity in February or March during normal business hours. It will be a chance for interested residents to review maps and handouts about projects, ask questions of local staff, and submit comments. There will also be an opportunity for residents to submit comments online, with those details being announced later.