Project Overview and Purpose
The N.C. Department of Transportation is proposing to replace the Earl C. Davis Memorial Bridge (Bridge No. 73) and Bridge No. 96 – both of which connect the town of Straits on the mainland to Harkers Island. Both bridges touch down on a center island.
The bridges are each more than 45 years old and are due for replacement. Doing so would not only improve their structural capacity but also provide better access to and from the island in emergencies and during hurricane evacuations.
The N.C. Department of Transportation has selected Alternative 5 as the preferred design – also referred to as the preferred alternative – for replacing the Harkers Island Bridges.
Note: The Alternative 5 map shown is from the March 2017 Public Meeting and is subject to change upon final design.
The preferred alternative will replace the existing bridges with one fixed-span bridge located to the east of the current roadway alignment.
The Earl C. Davis Memorial Bridge (Bridge No. 73) will be removed, but Bridge No. 96 will remain in place to provide pedestrian access to the Straits Fishing Pier.
The new bridge will have a 45-foot vertical navigational clearance through the channel span, eliminating vehicular and vessel delays due to bridge openings and closings.
NCDOT explored different design options to incorporate and address concerns received from the community. NCDOT, along with various federal and state environmental regulatory agencies determined that Alternative 5 best fits the purpose and need of the project while addressing public concerns and needs.
Categorical Exclusion Completed
NCDOT completed the required federal environmental documentation, a Categorical Exclusion, in October 2017 summarizing the purpose and need for the project, public involvement efforts, replacement alternatives analysis, costs and impacts and reasoning for the Least Environmentally Damaging Practicable Alternative/Preferred Alternative selected.
A list of all approved reports related to and/or in conjunction with the Harkers Island Bridge Replacements Project can be found within the Categorical Exclusion document.
The document is available for review at the NCDOT Division 2 office, 2815 Rouse Road Extension, Kinston, N.C. 28504.
Alternative 1 Eliminated
The N.C. Department of Transportation decided in June 2016 to remove from further study a design option referred to as Alternative 1, which would have included two fixed-span bridges, each located to the west of the existing bridges and touching down on the center island. The decision was based on other alternative designs as well as project feedback received at a public meeting in March 2016.
Alternatives 2, 3 and 4 Not Selected
Alternative designs as well as comments received from the March 2017 Public Meeting were presented to federal, state, and local environmental agencies at a meeting on June 15, 2017. Agencies were provided an opportunity to discuss potential impacts associated with each alternative. Based on this information, the Federal Highway Administration along with NCDOT decided not to select Alternatives 2, 3 or 4 based on potential impacts and low public support.
The N.C. Department of Transportation held a second public meeting on Harkers Island on March 2, 2017, at which time NCDOT representatives answered questions and received feedback from the community about the project.
NCDOT has been exploring options to incorporate and address concerns received during and after the meeting where and when feasible.
A summary of community feedback as well as responses to community comments on the project are available for review:
The maps and materials from the March 2, 2017, meeting are available below for review:
Public Meeting/Hearing Materials
The Harkers Island bridge replacements are listed in the current State Transportation Improvement Program as Project B-4863 and is funded for approximately $35.37 million. Current funding totals are listed in the below table.
|Project Development & Design
* Estimated costs are subject to change.
|Preferred Alternative Selection
|Environmental Document completed
|Right-of-Way acquisition begins
* Future dates are preliminary and subject to change.
Note: All other project documents are available in electronic form upon request. A hard copy version of the environmental document, Categorical Exclusion, is available for review at the NCDOT Division 2 office, 2815 Rouse Road Extension, Kinston, N.C. 28504.
Maria Rogerson, P.E.
Division 2 Project Engineer
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P.O. Box 1587
Greenville, NC 28735
Meredith Van Duyn, P.E.
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8521 Six Forks Road
Raleigh, NC 27615
Resources for Local Property Owners
Although the N.C. Department of Transportation works to minimize the number of homes and businesses displaced by a road project, it is inevitable, in many cases, that a certain amount of private property is needed. The following information explains right of way acquisition and answers questions about the process.