HAMPSTEAD, NC (WWAY) — Protestors gathered today to take a stand against a proposed ramp for the Hampstead Byass they say will put an end to a historic pond and the wildlife that lives there.
They are for the bypass, but against the proposed mid-town ramp.
Citizens for the Hampstead Bypass say the ramp would not only get rid of one of Hampstead’s most popular restaurants, Saw Mill Grill, it would also eliminate historic Chapel Pond and the habitat both humans and wildlife call home.
“Basically, what you see today will be entirely gone,” environmental consultant Andy Wood said. “All of these trees will be pushed aside. The pond will be filled with soil.”
Wood says 7,000 years of history will be lost plus dozens of species of wildlife. But animals are not the only ones losing this scenic view.
Frank Farley says he has lived here for 39 years. He says the ramp will destroy this beautiful sanctuary he has worked so hard to protect.
“We wake up every day in our bedroom, open the curtains, look out on the pond,” Farley said. “Some mornings you see the fog just rising from the pond, see birds out there. Osprey diving for fish.”
But that may soon change.
“If it comes through, the road will be very very close to our property,” Farley said. “In fact it will go right through our dock, and so the traffic will be very close to the house and we won’t be able to live here anymore.”
Protestors say the $30 million ramp is not needed, and they say they did a study to prove it.
Jay McInnis, project engineer for the NCDOT, reiterated the third ramp is necessary, but he did say he would be willing to look at a local traffic study commissioned by the group.
The state is slated to start buying property for the bypass project this year. It’s not yet clear when construction would start.