DOT chief gives favorable nod to Slocum flyover in Havelock

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

He took public questions, including one from John L. Simmons of Pollocksville, who said he’s been hearing for 32 years that U.S. 17 would be four lanes from Maine to Florida and wants to know “when are you going to start in Jones County.”

Simmons said those people in the proposed path of the road want to know when to find a new place to live.

Tom Thompson of NC 20 said, “The Highway 17 Association started in 1977. We’ve waited a long time and are not there yet.”

Tata said, “I understand your frustration,” and tapped Division 2 Engineer Neil Lassiter for details.

Lassiter said, “design changes initiated by public input” at a Pollocksville hearing last year caused a slight delay. But the project is funded, right-of-way acquisition begins next month and construction is scheduled to begin in 2015.

Tata said completing the other sections of U.S. 17 in North Carolina, including one from Vanceboro to New Bern, is consistent with the current state leadership’s position that “this section of North Carolina has been underserved and holds the key to growing the economic potential of the whole state.”

He assured former transportation board member Bob Mattocks that the new formula would not further delay U.S. 17 projects and assured Rob Will of Eastern Carolina RPO that ports funding would be protected by their density of defense-oriented projects.

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