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.