Local projects included in DOT plans

Published 9:46 am Tuesday, December 27, 2016

RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Transportation announced last week the division level transportation projects that are anticipated to be included in the state’s next draft 10-year transportation plan, which will be released in January 2017. The plan includes the years 2018 through 2027.

Numerous projects are on the drawing board in Division One, to include several in the four counties of the Roanoke-Chowan area.

Seven aviation, two bicycle and pedestrian, one ferry and 10 highway projects are expected to be funded at the Division level for Division One, which consists of Bertie, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hyde, Hertford, Martin, Northampton, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrell and Washington counties.

The largest of those projects is the widening of US158 to four lanes from the I-95/N.C. 46 interchange near Garysburg to St. John Church Road, located between Garysburg and Jackson. That $62.7 million project currently listed a draft construction date of 2020.

Other R-C area projects include:

Bertie County – NC 45 from the Hertford County line to the Washington County line; widen to 24 feet with paved shoulders and turn lanes where necessary with safety and mobility the primary purpose. Right-of-way acquisition for this $23.79 million project is scheduled for 2023 with construction beginning in 2025;

Hertford County – NC 461 to the end of State Maintenance (Nucor); widen (from 21’ to 25’), pave and repair shoulders on existing two lane road. Right-of-way acquisition for this $4 million project is scheduled for 2023 with construction beginning in 2025;

Gates County – Widen the paved shoulders on US 158 from SR 1002 to the Pasquotank County line. Right-of-way acquisition for this $3.4 million project is scheduled for 2023 with construction beginning in 2025; and

Hertford County – Tri-County Airport: construct a 500′ runway extension for a 5,000′ runway. Construction is anticipated in 2023 for this $611,190 project.

“Our robust transportation network supports our strong economy and improved quality of life,” Governor Pat McCrory said. “Through the new transportation funding formula, we took the politics out of transportation planning to ensure roads and other important infrastructure are prioritized based on data, while providing flexibility to meet local needs. The new funding formula allows us to make smart decisions that keep North Carolina moving and these projects demonstrate the process is working as intended.”

“These projects will help fulfill Governor McCrory’s 25-Year Vision for Transportation in North Carolina by better connecting communities across the state,” State Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson said.

The projects are being paid for under the state’s Strategic Transportation Investments law, which allows the department to use data and local input to fund transportation projects at three levels: statewide, regionally and locally (also referred to as being at the division level).

The list of statewide projects in the draft program was released in May. In August, the regional project scores were released. NCDOT’s 14 local divisions and the local planning organizations across the state used this information, along with public feedback, to assign their local input points to projects at the division level.

Now that all project scores have been finalized at the statewide, regional and division levels, the top-scoring projects will be scheduled into NCDOT’s next 10-year plan based on available funding and other factors – such as the status of environmental studies – that affect when a project can be completed.

The draft 10-year plan is scheduled to be released in January 2017. A public comment period will be held and then the final plan is expected to be adopted by the N.C. Board of Transportation in June 2017.

A complete list of projects can be found at NCDOT.gov/STI.

The Strategic Transportation Investments Law, championed by Governor McCrory with bipartisan support from the General Assembly, was signed into law in June 2013. Under the new funding formula, projects are evaluated based on a combination of data and local input. Statewide project scores are based entirely on data-driven criteria; regional project scores are based on 70 percent data and 30 percent local input, which is based on an established methodology; and division project scores are based on 50 percent data and 50 percent local input.

Projects that did not score high enough to be funded at the statewide level rolled over to the regional level to be considered for funding. Projects that did not make the list for regional-level funding 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.

The department’s 10-year plan is updated every two years using this process. Projects scheduled into the first five years of the plan are considered committed and will not be reevaluated, but projects in the final five years of each 10-year plan will be prioritized again for inclusion in the next plan.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

email author More by Cal