TIP Project R-4467 involves improvements along U.S. 17 Business/N.C. 37 from the South end of the Perquimans River bridge to the intersection of U.S. 17 Business and N.C. 37 in Winfall, a distance of approximately 0.4 mile. The existing causeway is settling unevenly due to poor soils under the roadway, and the S-Bridge (Bridge No. 8) across the Perquimans River is weakening due to its age. The purpose of this project is to continue to provide a reliable direct connection from downtown Hertford to Winfall and northern Perquimans County.
News and Updates
Public Hearing Held
A Public Hearing was held on September 17, 2013. The Public Hearing was preceded by a pre-hearing open house, during which citizens had an opportunity to view project maps and talk individually with the project team members. NCDOT presented the three alternatives studied in the Environmental Assessment, which were:
- Alternative B 15’ Swing Span Bridge – new swing span bridge parallel (to the northeast) with the existing bridge. Replacement of the existing causeway with a new low fixed structure in the same location.
- Alternative D-Mod 33’ Fixed Span Bridge – new fixed span bridge to the east of the existing bridge and causeway.
- Alternative E 33’ Fixed Span Bridge – new fixed span bridge to the west of the existing bridge. Follows the northern portion of the existing causeway.
A summary of each alternative is included in the August 2013 newsletter. For a copy of the newsletter, click on the link below.
Hearing maps are also available at the links below.
Environmental Assessment Completed
The Environmental Assessment for Project R-4467 was completed in February 2013. For a copy of the document, click on the links below.
The next step is for NCDOT to hold a post-hearing meeting. All spoken and written issues will be reviewed and discussed at the post-hearing meeting. Most issues are resolved at this meeting. For a copy of the post-hearing meeting summary, contact the project team.
Following review of public comments, NCDOT and state and federal agencies will determine the preferred alternative. Safety, cost, traffic service, social impacts, and public comments will all have a bearing on this determination. The Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) will document the final decision, and the public will be notified through a direct mailer when that document has been completed.
Project Overview and Purpose
The purpose of this project is to continue to provide a direct, reliable route between downtown Hertford and the town of Winfall. The current route is experiencing significant deterioration and ongoing maintenance problems, jeopardizing its ability to provide reliable direct connectivity.
The existing swing-span bridge was built in 1929, and has a sufficiency rating of 1 out of a possible 100. A sufficiency rating of 1 does not indicate the bridge is unsafe because it evaluates the bridge in the un-shored condition, but does qualify the bridge to be repaired or replaced under the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1968. The bridge costs approximately $60,000 a year to maintain, and was temporarily shored with steel crutch bents in 2007 and concrete jackets in 2008.
The causeway north of the bridge has been damaged by settling of the earth under the road. It has been closed several times in the past few years. In each case, the failure resulted in the roadway collapsing, requiring the causeway to be closed for several weeks each time for repair. NCDOT has spent approximately $1,275,000 in the past five years on repairs to the causeway.
Public Involvement is an important part of the project development process. NCDOT encourages citizen involvement with transportation projects and will consider public suggestions and address their concerns. NCDOT has reached out to the public through newsletters and postcards (see above), two meetings with small groups, and Citizens Informational Workshops in April 2010, June 2011 and August 2012. A public hearing was held in September 2013.
To add your name to the project mailing list, please Contact Us.
Project Development Process
The U.S. 17 Business/N.C. 37 Improvements Project uses federal funds. Any agency that proposes a project involving federal funds must comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). NEPA is a law that requires federally funded projects to consider the environmental impacts of their proposals. A major part of the NEPA process is the preparation of an environmental document. An environmental assessment (EA) was completed in February 2013.
This project is following the NEPA/Section 404 Merger Process. The merger process combines portions of the Section 404 (of the Clean Water Act) permitting process with the NEPA decision making process. The merger process is a formalized agency participation program that streamlines the development of a project. A merger team, consisting of NCDOT, the Federal Highway Administration, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the N.C. Division of Water Quality and other federal and state agencies will make decisions as a group and reach agreement on key aspects of the project.
Click here for additional information on the merger process.
Alternatives Development Process
As part of the NEPA process, the project team carefully considers potential alternatives. Alternatives are compared based on quantitative and qualitative analysis, public input, and agency input. For this project, NCDOT has screened a combination of six bridge types on seven alignments. These were narrowed down to nine concepts to present to the public in April 2010.
It has been determined that rehabilitating the existing swing-span bridge is neither practical nor safe. A bridge rail would have to be added to the bridge to meet current safety standards. The existing bridge is too narrow to add the rail and still maintain two lanes of traffic. Therefore, if rehabilitated, the bridge would have to be converted to one-way traffic. Opposing traffic would be routed along the U.S. 17 Bypass.
Following the April 2010 Citizens Informational Workshop and a Merger Process meeting in October 2010, five alternatives were selected for more detailed study and were presented at the June 2011 Citizens Informational Workshop. An additional two alternatives were presented at the August 2012 Citizens Informational Workshop.
In October 2012, NCDOT and the merger team chose the following three alternatives to be analyzed in the environmental document. A preferred alternative will be selected after the public hearing.
- Alternative B 15’ Swing Span Bridge
- Alternative D-Mod 33’ Fixed Span Bridge
- Alternative E 33’ Fixed Span Bridge
Detailed Study Alternatives Map
Joseph Miller, P.E.
NCDOT Project Planning Engineer
Teresa Gresham, P.E.
Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc.
Resources for Local Property Owners
In many cases, it is inevitable that a certain amount of private property must be acquired. The displacement of homes and businesses is minimized to the extent practicable. The following brochures will answer questions about this process.