RALEIGH - The N.C. Department of Transportation awarded a contract to relocate the oldest existing rest area in North Carolina. The rest area, located on U.S. 17 in Craven County, was built in 1952 and is not up to Americans with Disabilities Act standards.A $4.3 million contract was awarded to Barnhill Contracting Company in January to begin building the new rest area March 3 in Beaufort County. The new facility is scheduled for completion of all but landscaping by April 15, 2015, with final completion expected in October 2015.
The rest area will be built 17 miles north of the existing one, at the intersection of Harding Road and U.S. 17, south of Chocowinity. Both the entrance and exit will be off Harding Road, serving both north and southbound U.S. 17 motorists. The new location is equidistant from Shallotte in Brunswick County and South Mills in Camden County. The new buildings will feature LED light fixtures, high efficiency water source heat pumps, water saving flush valves and automatic faucets. In addition, a solar thermal water heating system will assist in providing lower energy costs. All rainwater runoff will be captured from the roof of the building and utilized to irrigate the plantings.
To better accommodate travelers, the building has dual men's and women's restrooms and a separate family restroom. The new site will include 18 truck parking spaces and 64 car parking spaces, as well as picnic tables, benches and a bike rack. The overall inspiration for the building came from a bridge. The river is an important feature in the area and the people must traverse bridges in their daily lives. This was one of 28 contracts worth $282.3 million recently awarded by NCDOT for highway, bridge and ferry projects across North Carolina. NCDOT awarded the contracts to the lowest bidders, as required by state law. The winning bids for the projects came in almost five percent, or $14.2 million, below NCDOT estimates. For real-time travel information at any time, call 511, visit www.ncdot.gov/travel or follow NCDOT on Twitter. Another option is NCDOT Mobile, a phone-friendly version of the NCDOT website. To access it, type "m.ncdot.gov" into the browser of your smartphone.