DOT chief gives favorable nod to Slocum flyover in Havelock

Published: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 02:58 PM.

A Slocum Gate “flyover” at the Cherry Point to move U.S. 70 East traffic onto or by the base “is a fact,” said N.C. Secretary of Transportation Tony Tata on Tuesday in New Bern.

DOT has appeared to be looking favorably on that overpass project in Havelock and on beginning work on the long-awaited four-lane U.S. 17 bypass in Jones County from Pollocksville to Jacksonville.

But many questioned whether the two projects would survive the “Strategic Mobility Formula” for allocating highway money that’s been proposed by Gov. Pat McCrory in Raleigh.

Tata made the flyover’s prospects clear after his fact-gathering trip Tuesday. Tata, a retired Army brigadier general, toured Cherry Point with N.C. Board of Transportation Hugh Overholt of New Bern, Malcolm Fearing of Manteo, Ferrell Blount of Bethel and John Lennon of Wilmington.

After a luncheon meeting with regional leaders hosted by the Highway 17 Association, Tata spoke at New Bern Riverfront Convention Center, outlining the funding formula that has passed the N.C. House of Representatives and, with some changes, awaits a final N.C. Senate vote.

He said there would be an estimated $6.4 billion for state highways in the next 10 years, $1.2 billion less than the last decade. The plan would divide it with 40 percent for statewide projects and 30 percent each for regional and division projects.

But Tata said both the U.S. 70 and U.S. 17 projects could be funded from state or regional project money because they figure into “the governor’s number one goal to leverage infrastructure to catalyze the economy.”

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