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Target Southwest Bypass completion pushed back

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An ariel views shows construction work on the U.S. 264 Southwest Bypass. The completion date for the bypass has been moved back by a year, a senior Pitt County planner said.


By Ginger Livingston
The Daily Reflector

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Pitt County officials working this week on a land-use plan to guide development along the U.S. 264 Southwest Bypass corridor learned that the state has pushed back the project’s estimated completion date by a year.

Senior Planner Eric Gooby said he discovered the new date when checking the state Department of Transportation website. He shared the news with the Pitt County Planning Board on Wednesday during a meeting on a corridor land use plan for property along the 12.6-mile highway which extends from U.S. 264 Bypass at Statonsburg Road to N.C. 11 two miles south of Ayden.

Officials announced the project would be complete in June of 2019 when a ceremonial groundbreaking was held in November. A check of the project website in early spring still showed the completion date was in 2019.

Gooby said construction started September 2016 and “the newest expected completion date is mid-2020, June 2020. The original (completion date) was mid-2019 but it has been pushed back several months.”

Brian Rick, communications officer for NCDOT Divisions II and III, confirmed the change in a phone interview on Thursday. He said additional time is needed because a portion of the project was redesigned to address local concerns about the alignment of Davenport Farm Road.

Davenport Farm Road is being realigned so it intersects with U.S. 13/Dickinson Avenue Extension across from Bell Arthur Road, Rick said.

“This alignment takes Davenport Farm Road over the new bypass so a bridge had to be built,” Rick said. The changes were made before the final design plans were completed, he said.

Along with the new plans for Davenport Farm Road, 10 days also were added because of problems related to Hurricane Matthew, Rick said.

Rick said the public was informed about the changes when the department updated the information on its website. He did not say when the website was update or if additional efforts were made to update stakeholders on the progress.

The land-use plan is a cooperative effort between Pitt County, Greenville, Ayden, Winterville, the Greenville Urban Area MPO and state transportation department, Gooby said during his presentation to the board.

“Because of the number of interchanges being proposed (along the corridor) we anticipate there is going to be growth around those interchanges,” Gooby said. “It’s to help manage and guide the development that occurs along that corridor, especially those interchanges.”

The five interchanges will be located at Statonsburg Road, N.C. 13/Dickinson Avenue, Forlines Road, N.C. 102 and N.C. 11 South.

The plan will focus mainly on development along the interchanges at U.S. 13/Dickinson Avenue and Forlines Road; a 17-square-mile area along 7.5 miles of the bypass.

Gooby said work on the plan will begin in October and should be completed in 10-12 months.

Earlier this year, the county planning department sought out a consultant to work on the project. Three firms applied, and the planning department selected Stewart Inc., an engineering firm with offices in Raleigh, Durham and Charlotte.

A steering committee is being created to guide the firm’s work, Gooby said.

The committee will be divided into two groups, a technical or staff group consisting of employees of the county, the three municipalities and NCDOT. The staff group will look at details of the document, Gooby said. This group is expected to hold six meetings during the process, Gooby said.

The second body is a study oversight group which will consist of planning board members from the county and the three municipalities along with representatives from other agencies, he said. This group will hold three to four meetings.

Gooby asked the planning board to select a member to serve with the oversight group. The unanimous choice, at the recommendation of board chairman Johnny Pinner, were Faye Barefoot and Ricky Hines.

The project’s next step will be a pre-planning process along with an inventory of the land, existing conditions along the corridor. This work will take place between October and December. January through March will be the plan development phase.

The draft and final plan should be completed and presented to the Pitt County Board of Commissioners in late spring-summer for adoption.

Meetings for the community to review and comment on the project are tentatively scheduled for February and June, Gooby said.

Contact Ginger Livingston at glivingston@reflector.com or 252-329-9570. Follow her on Twitter @GingerLGDR.