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Interchange proposed at US 158, NC 12

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The N.C. Department of Transportation said last week that a proposed interchange at the busy intersection of U.S. Highway 158 and N.C. Highway 12 in Kitty Hawk has reached the top of a list of top-scoring road improvement projects.

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By William F. West
Staff Writer

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Motorists who’ve complained for years about summer traffic backups in Dare County and Lower Currituck could see some relief on the way in the form of a proposed interchange in Kitty Hawk.

State Department of Transportation officials announced last week that DOT’s 2020-29 State Transportation Improvement Plan now rates an interchange at the intersection of U.S. Highway 158 and N.C. Highway 12 one of the plan’s top-scoring road improvement projects.

N.C. Department of Transportation Division 1 spokesman Tim Hass said in an email the interchange’s estimated cost is $32 million and its draft construction date is 2029.

“The first thing to know is that all of this is very preliminary,” Hass said. “While the funding is one of the steps, there are still several more steps to go before this project becomes a reality.”

Hass said there are no designs yet for the interchange, noting more details will be included in the 2020-29 STIP when the document is released either late this year or in early 2019.

The purpose of the STIP is to identify construction funding and schedule for state transportation projects over a 10-year period. NCDOT updates the STIP every two years to reflect the state's fiscal situation.

Hass said potential improvements at the U.S. 158-N.C. 12 intersection have been discussed for a long time. He also noted the improvements have been recommended in Dare County's Comprehensive Transportation Plan as a way to relieve traffic congestion on both U.S. 158 and N.C. 12 during the summer months and to facilitate evacuations from hurricanes.

The intersection provides a key left turn from U.S. 158 onto N.C. 12, which extends northward along the Dare and the Currituck County Outer Banks.

For years, summer vacationers heading south on U.S. 158 in lower Currituck have encountered traffic congestion, most of it because of vehicles backed up attempting to turn left at the U.S. 158-N.C. 12 intersection. The traffic backups are particularly bad on days when vacation rentals on the Outer Banks turn over.

As of late last week, NCDOT identified 138 regional highway, aviation, ferry, rail and transit projects for funding and construction over the next decade. NCDOT is estimating the projects’ cost at approximately $2.7 billion.

NCDOT Division 1 is welcoming comment from area residents about the region’s road priorities. Division 1 is comprised of Pasquotank, Camden, Currituck, Perquimans, Chowan, Gates, Bertie, Hertford, Northampton, Dare, Hyde, Tyrrell, Washington and Martin counties.

Those wishing to offer input may contact Division Planning Engineer Brooks Braswell at 482-1873 or by email at bnbraswell@ncdot.gov between Sept. 24 and Oct. 5.

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