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Highway 17 in Hampstead (Photo: Hannah Patrick/ WWAY)
Highway 17 in Hampstead (Photo: Hannah Patrick/ WWAY)

PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Pender County commissioners and surrounding towns are continuing to push the need for a Hampstead Bypass on US Hwy 17 despite the Department of transportation not categorizing it as a priority for state funding.

The proposed Hampstead Bypass received a preliminary score of 4.0 in the most current round of prioritization for statewide funding of NCDOT projects.

“As one of the fastest growing counties in North Carolina, it is imperative our infrastructure keeps pace with growth,” Pender County board of commissioners chairman George Brown said. “Needless to say, our board is disappointed the Hampstead Bypass was considered insignificant in the first round of NCDOT scoring.”

Brown said he believes safety is extremely significant and the proposed Hampstead Bypass should be considered as a safety issue.

“It is a safety issue and a necessity, especially with our county’s growth,” Commissioner David Williams said.

Williams said it is ‘extremely disappointing’ that the proposed Bypass was not deemed significant enough to receive state funding from NCDOT.

Surrounding town mayors in Pender County agree.

“I support the Hampstead Bypass 100 percent,”Surf City Mayor Zander Guy said. “This is not just an economic development issue – no, more importantly, this is a safety issue. There are too many accidents on US Hwy 17.”

“The high traffic, high volume, and the highest number of accidents occur close to three of our Pender County Schools located on US Hwy 17,” Topsail Beach Mayor Howard Braxton said. “We need to alleviate the dense traffic with a bypass.”

The county manager said commissioners have hired a lobbyist and they are going to continue pushing the bypass on lawmakers.

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