The proposed U.S. 70 bypass around Havelock has missed out on one funding priority but still has a shot at two others, according to a Department of Transportation official.
However, if the project doesn’t score high enough in at least one of those, the date for construction would be pushed back indefinitely.
The project scored 37.25 out of 100 in the statewide mobility portion of the state DOT’s new funding formula. Only projects with a score of 44 or higher made the department’s 10-year programming schedule for construction.
“ … So far it does not rank high enough to qualify for statewide mobility funding, but it is eligible for regional impact funding and division needs funding, and when we get done with that local input scoring, then it may qualify for funding under one of those categories,” said Don Voelker, director of the Strategic Prioritization Office of Transportation.
The $183.4 million project ranks 1,215th out of 1,742 projects planned by the DOT across the state.
Because of budget concerns, state legislators ordered the DOT in 2013 to begin a re-evaluation of all state road projects to determine which ones most deserve transportation funding.
The proposed 10-mile-long bypass around Havelock has been in the planning stages since the 1970s.
The project has two other avenues for funding if its scores for regional impact and division needs make the cut. Right now, the project scores 25.21 out of 70 for regional impact, with 30 more points to be shared evenly between the division engineer and the Down East Rural Planning Organization.
It scores 27.07 out of 50 in division needs, with another 50 points to be shared evenly between the division engineer and the Down East Rural Planning Organization.
Voelker said local officials should be talking to rural planning organizations and the DOT division engineer about the U.S. 70 bypass as the local input scoring is calculated.
“If this is the project that you support, they need to be making the case for it: Yes, we think this is a high priority project in our area and we would like for you to give it the maximum number of points that it can receive to boost its overall score,” he said.
Local input scoring from the division engineer and the Down East Rural Planning Organization will be conducted between now and Aug. 29, Voelker said.
Voelker said the final scores would not be calculated until December when a Draft State Transportation Improvement Plan is completed.
Construction of the U.S. 70 bypass had been set to begin next year until the General Assembly took action in 2013 for all DOT projects with construction dates of 2015 or later subject to the new funding formula.
The path for the bypass is west of the city from near Hickman Hills near the Craven County recycling center in front of the old Havelock Building Supply Company to just east of Havelock beyond Shepard Street. The plan calls for an interchange to be built at Lake Road. There are an estimated 16 households and two businesses that would have to be relocated along the 250-foot-wide project route.