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Frequently Asked Questions

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  • How was the study area determined?

    ​The Carolina Bays Parkway Extension study area boundary was established with consideration given to the ability to develop a full range of alternatives while also minimizing potential impacts to important environmental features. Therefore, the project study area does not comprise the entire Grand Strand Area Transportation Study Boundary. The western end of the project study area in South Carolina includes the existing terminus of the Carolina Bays Parkway at S.C. 9, and allows for options to extend that facility in South Carolina. The eastern end of the project study area is based on the desire to connect any new location options to a controlled-access portion of U.S. 17, since the Carolina Bays Parkway Extension is proposed to be a fully controlled-access facility. The width of the study area between the two terminal points allows for a full range of alternatives using both existing and new locations. The study area provides for the ability to develop alternatives to avoid or minimize environmental impacts while meeting the traffic needs as defined by the project’s purpose and need. .

  • Please explain the selection and decision process for choosing a route. What is the overall process timeline, what steps are involved for both selection and decision, where is this project in the process, and when are the next steps expected?

    ​Any state or federal agency proposing a project that uses public funds and might have a potential detrimental environmental effect must comply with the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) and/or the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended. Under SEPA/NEPA, agencies are required to evaluate the environmental impacts of their proposals. The evaluation generally follows a project development process that can be divided into the steps described below. This project is currently on Step 6. ​


    ​​​​Sel​ectio​n Pro​c​ess and Timeline​
    ​Step 1
    ​Project scoping (initial date collection), public input on purpose of and need for proposed project
    ​Completed
    ​Step 2
    ​Establish project purpose and need
    ​Completed
    ​Step 3
    ​Develop corridor concepts
    ​Completed
    ​Step 4
    ​Conduct public meetings
    ​Completed
    ​Step 5
    ​Select design alternatives for detailed study
    ​Completed
    ​Step 6
    ​Complete detailed environmental analysis
    ​Ongoing
    ​Step 7
    ​Public draft environmental impact statement
    ​​Spring/Summer 2022
    ​Step 8
    ​Conduct public hearings
    ​Summer/Fall 2022
    ​Step 9
    ​Select Least Environmentally Damaging Practicable Alternative (LEDPA)
    ​Fall 2022
    ​Step 10
    ​Identify additional avoidance and minimization measures
    ​Fall/Winter 2022
    ​Step 11
    ​Publish final environmental impact statement and decision document
    ​Summer​ 2023
    ​​Right-of-way acquisition to begin
    ​​​S. Carolina - 2023
    N​orth Carolina - TBD



  • Who is involved in selection and decision?

    ​The N.C. Deparetment of Transportation, the S.C. Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration have agreed to review major decisions using an interagency merger team. To date, the merger team and the public have had an opportunity to review and comment on the project’s purpose and need, study area, and a range of alternatives that will be evaluated in detail. After careful consideration and evaluation of the Detailed Study Alternatives (DSA), NCDOT and SCDOT, in collaboration with the FHWA, will determine a Preferred Alternative from among the seven DSAs and the no-build option. NCDOT, SCDOT and FHWA will coordinate with local, state and federal agencies to reach consensus on the selection of the Least Environmentally Damaging Practicable Alternative (LEDPA).


    This agency collaboration process helps to ensure project decisions are made with consideration of applicable laws and regulations, while taking into account public and local government input. For the Carolina Bays Extension project the following local, state, and federal agencies will be involved in reviewing the project and providing concurrence on major project decisions as part of an interagency merger team:
    • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
    • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
    • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – Fisheries
    • N.C. Department of Environmental Quality - DWR
    • S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control
    • N.C. Department of Environmental Quality – DCM
    • S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control – OCRM
    • N.C. Wildlife Resource Commission
    • N.C. Historic Preservation Office
    • S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control – Bureau of Water
    • S.C. Department of Natural Resources
    • S.C. Historic Preservation Office
    • Grand Strand Area Transportation Study MPO
    • Horry County – Ride 3
    • Cape Fear Rural Transportation Planning Organization​


  • Who ultimately decides, state or federal?

    ​Major project decisions are made by NCDOT, SCDOT and FHWA. In some instances, these agencies will make recommendations to the interagency merger team for review and concurrence. Decisions made through collaboration with the interagency merger team include: 

    • Project Purpose and Need
    • Detailed Study Alternatives
    • Hydraulic Structure Recommendations
    • Least Environmentally Damaging Practicable Alternative (LEDPA)
    • Avoidance/Minimization Measures
    • Permitting​


  • How and why are routes dropped during the study?

    ​Alternative corridors are dropped through concurrence with the interagency merger team and can be dropped or added for different reasons such as environmental impacts, human impacts, permitting impacts, and input from the public and local agencies. Once Detailed Study Alternatives (DSAs) are identified they are normally not dropped until the detailed studies are complete. The most common time for DSA’s to be dropped from further consideration is at the time of the selection of the LEDPA.​

  • Who determines the Least Environmentally Damaging Practical Alternative?

    ​The draft environmental impact statement will contain a preferred alternative as recommended by the N.C. Department of Transportation, the S.C. Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration. NCDOT and SCDOT will recommend to the interagency merger team that the preferred alternative be selected as the LEDPA after the DEIS has been circulated for public and agency review and comment, and after a public hearing.The LEDPA decision will be agreed upon by the interagency merger team.  

  • What are the next steps?

    ​The N.C. Department of Transporation and the S.C. Department of Transportation are conducting roadway design, environmental and traffic studies. The results of those studies will be compiled in the draft environmental impact statement, which will be circulated for public and agency review. After the DEIS is published, a public hearing will be held to allow the public to review project recommendations and provide comments. The selection of the LEDPA will follow the public hearing comment period.​

  • How will the public be informed?

    ​A public hearing will be held after publication of the draft environmental impact statement, at which time the public can review project recommendations and provide comments on the proposed project. Additionally, the project's public input site​ is updated periodically with new information throughout the development process.

  • How does NCDOT determine how much land to take for right of way and interchanges?

    ​Real property required for projects is determined by the roadway design, drainage, and utility needs.


  • How does eminent domain work?

    ​Owners receive written notice from NCDOT for acquisition of their property. NCDOT establishes fair compensation based on appraisals by a North Carolina general certified appraiser. An offer that includes the value of real property, structures and damages is then presented. Following the offer, negotiations and settlements take place. 

  • How are property values determined?

    ​NCDOT has an appraisal performed on the portion of land needed for the project. Appraisals are opinions of value as determined by a North Carolina general certified appraiser. Property owners have the right to have independent appraisals and to accompany the NCDOT appraiser on inspection.  ​

  • How are property owners protected?

    ​Property owners' rights are protected through the entire process. They have the right to have their property appraised and accompany the NCDOT appraiser on inspection. They have the right to information about their claim at any time. Valuations and claim information are a private matter. NCDOT will only share information with the owner and/or representative of the owner. NCDOT follows a legislative procedure that protects all parties under North Carolina law.   ​

  • What is the expected overall project cost, including property purchased?

    ​The 2020-2029 State Transportation Improvement Proogram projects the expected construction cost at $232,800,000 and the right-of-way acquisition estimate at $133,900,000. These costs will be refined and updated as the project moves forward. 


  • Is NCDOT aware that churches, fire departments and schools might be impacted?

    ​The project team is in the process of evaluating potential impacts of each proposed alternative. During the current project phase, a series of technical reports will be prepared that provide comprehensive analysis of the potential impacts on all human and natural environmental resources. One of these reports is the community impact assessment, which will provide a comprehensive analysis of potential direct impacts to churches, fire departments and schools as well as other community resources. Those impacts will be documented in the draft environmental impact statement..

  • Is NCDOT aware that Realtors are disclosing potential right-of-way impacts for local properties and that values are taking a hit?

    ​The N.C. Department of Transportation, the S.C. Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration are evaluating seven potential build alternatives in addition to the no-build alternative. The project team is working as quickly as possible to complete the necessary roadway design and impact assessments to reach a decision on a preferred alternative. Disclosure of potential right-of-way impacts is speculative at this time. The most current information will be updated on the project website​.

1/7/2022 7:44 AM