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Bypass budget bolstered

By Staff
Project still needs about$24 million for third phase
By DAN PARSONS
Staff Writer
The North Carolina Department of Transportation’s governing board recently awarded $5.4 million to purchase the remaining necessary land for the U.S. Highway 17 Washington Bypass project.
The money has been awarded through Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicles, or GARVEE, bonds and will be used to purchase the remaining land needed to build the road.
The General Assembly authorized the use of about $900 million in GARVEE bond financing in 2005 and the Board of Transportation chose six projects as its inaugural package, totaling $39.8 million across North Carolina.
The state’s 2007-2013 Transportation Improvement Program was amended to include this new money, according to Finlayson.
But the $192 million project is not yet fully funded. Another $24.5 million will be required to complete the project.
The Washington bypass is a 15-mile project that will leave the existing Highway 17 south of State Road 1127 near Chocowinity and reconnect to the highway north of N.C. Highway 171 between Washington and Williamston.
Construction is underway on the first phase — the center section — that will cross the Tar River west of the existing highway. Construction on phase two — the southern connector — is set to begin next year. This new funding will finish right-of-way acquisition for phase three — the northern connector.
The Highway 17 Transportation Association in North Carolina was created in 1975 through a collaboration of local government and civic leaders up and down the Highway 17 corridor. The association’s mission is to ensure the construction of a controlled-access four-lane U.S. Highway 17 from Virginia to South Carolina.