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Community speaks out about new NCDOT Hampstead bypass plan

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HAMPSTEAD, NC (WWAY) -- A revised plan for the Highway 17 bypass project has some people concerned.

The NC Department of Transportation says the new interchange will help with excess traffic. But neighbors say it's a waste of money, and they want to keep the area preserved.

Back in 2011, the plan was for just two interchanges; one on highway 210, and the other near Sawmill Grill in the middle of Hampstead.

After hearing lots of opposition to the midtown ramp and the lack of a northern exit, the NCDOT went back to the drawing board.

The new plan created a northern ramp, but kept the midtown exit.

According to Michael Nadeau, Broker at Creative Commercial Properties, this adds $30,000,000 to the price tag and will cause the loss of a historic pond.

“This would all be pretty much taken out,” he said about Chapel Pond. “I mean the highway goes right through the pond, right through the center of the pond.”

He says he wants the dot to take a closer look at the damage this ramp will cause.

"Let's make sure we evaluate this properly before we spend $30,000,000 on an additional interchange that cuts right through the middle of the lake here,” Nadeau said.

Resident Al Freimark has been working on the bypass for 18 years as a part of the Citizen Advisory Comittee. He says the traffic figures fueling the plan are completely wrong.

"The homework that the DOT is using, we're concerned is not up to date,” Freimark said. “It's old.”

He says the DOT overestimated the amount of traffic coming to and from Hampstead.

"When you look at the traffic going back and forth here, the DOT's estimates of how much of it is local traffic differs from what others feel is just bypass traffic,” Freimark added.

But Jay McInnis, project engineer for the NCDOT says the figures are accurate.

“I believe our, again of course the traffic we're using is a forecast, but I believe it's a reasonable forecast,” McInnis said.

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rte 17 bypass in hampstead.

I did not gain any information out of almost two hours at this meeting. Vaguery appears to be their main way of dealing with pointed questions. I seriously doubt that if asked anyone of them would admit to working for the DOT.

ByPass

I believe this bypass is needed and I applaud the 'northern' exit! As for the 'historic pond', how can I enjoy this pond? I tried to fish on it and was told to 'get lost!' What that tells me is, there are a very few people against it and the rest of Hampstead for it. I suppose there must not have been time to show (or even mention) the MANY that are for it but plenty of time for the very few against it. Typical reporting!

Bob

i guess will never finish

i guess will never finish I-140 bypass, and then it will take years of work for 17 bypass. ,Then they will start a new one and I-140, 17bypass won't be finished then either the way they are going.