The environmental impact statement for the U.S. 17 Hampstead Bypass will take a little longer than expected. The holdup shouldn’t affect the project’s overall time line, though.
Originally, planners had identified fall of 2013 as the document’s completion date, but it will likely take until the beginning of 2014, said Kim Gillespie, a N.C. Department of Transportation engineer who works in the project development and environmental analysis unit in
"There was some other information that we found out we needed to look back at — a few things for the Hampstead Bypass, the alternatives and so forth — trying to make sure we all agree how we want to approach that," Gillespie said.
Right of way buying for the project is still set to begin in 2017.
One of the main reasons for the extended environmental document process was the decision to have two interchanges as part of the bypass.
"We’re doing what we can, that’s where we are right now," Gillespie said. "We’ve gone on and decided that even with both of (the interchanges) and with making some adjustments to the alignment as needed we can still make minimal impacts to the environment while getting traffic where it needs to go."
The right of way portion of the project has already been funded, but the construction is not and will, therefore, be subject to the state’s new mobility fund formula.