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bypass3.jpg Submitted by Katie Harden on Wed, 07/18/2012 - 3:40pm.

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The North Carolina Department of Transportation is moving forward with plans for the highly-debated Military Cutoff Extension and Hampstead Bypass in Pender and New Hanover County. The DOT will extend Military Cutoff road to the US 17 Wilmington Bypass, cutting through Ogden Park and some residential areas. The Hampstead Bypass will cut from the Wilmington Bypass across Sidbury Road dumping out just north of South Topsail Elementary School. The DOT says because of the amount of traffic, the decision will help the community move forward. "We're planning on about 50,000 cars a day, so that's a lot of traffic," the DOT's Jackson Provost said. "So hopefully it will give you some relief in the Porters Neck area and provide an alternative way from Wrightsville Beach to get in and out of town." The DOT says residents and businesses in the community have known about the possibility of the corridor for years, so the decision should not come as a shock. "I think there was a corridor protection plan that's been in place many years, which has kind of given the public and idea that there is a project coming through, so it shouldn't be a surprise," Provost said. Instead, residents say they want the plan to move faster. They're worried if the timeline stays how it is, the project may get push down the list of priorities. "After 17 years, a whole lot of people have been working on this," said Al Freimark, a Pender County resident who has long been one of those people working on the plan. "We don't want to see it go to 2017 and then something else take its place and bump it off." Work is scheduled to begin on Military Cutoff in 2016. Construction for the the Hampstead Bypass should start in 2020. The DOT will hold another public hearing August 28 to discuss plans on how the corridor will look. Visit the project website for more information.

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