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Author Topic: US 17 in North Carolina (SC Line to Williamston)  (Read 1418 times)

wdcrft63

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US 17 in North Carolina (SC Line to Williamston)
« on: April 05, 2020, 06:57:34 PM »

Several Forum contributors have expressed interest in whether US 17 will eventually become a freeway (perhaps even an interstate) over its entire length (a little less than 300 miles) in North Carolina. Discussions of this possibility have been scattered in the North Carolina thread and elsewhere. This is such an important road, it ought to have its own thread, so I'm trying to start one.

Of course the projected upgrades of US 17 from Williamston to the VA line needed to complete I-87 already have their own thread so they need not be discussed anywhere else.

By my (very unofficial) count the 200 miles of US 17 south of Williamston have at least 49 miles of freeway already, including
* The I-140 bypass of Wilmington (21 miles)
* The Jacksonville Freeway (maybe 6 miles)
* The Bypass of Maysville (3 miles)
* The Pollacksville to Future I-42 section (about 14 miles)
* The Washington Bypass (5 miles)

Among the sections likely to be upgraded to freeways we have:
* The Carolina Bays Parkway extension
* Some sort of relocation to eliminate the stoplight at Supply
* Possible upgrade of the Bolivia Bypass
* The Hampstead Bypass
* Completion of the New Bern Bypass
* Possible upgrade of the Vanceboro Bypass

I'm inviting comments on these and other possibilities.

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sprjus4

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Re: US 17 in North Carolina (SC Line to Williamston)
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2020, 07:32:51 PM »

Doing an official count on Google Maps, these are the current mileage for existing freeway segments south of Williamston.

US-17 Washington Bypass - 6 miles
US-17 / US-70 New Bern Bypass - 10 miles
US-17 Pollocksville Bypass - 12 miles
US-17 Maysville Bypass - 3 miles
US-17 Jacksonville Bypass - 7 miles
I-140 Wilmington Bypass - 26 miles

Currently, about 64 miles of existing freeway of the existing 201 mile long corridor, or 32%.

All of those projects are currently built to full interstate standards except the US-17 Washington Bypass lacking full paved shoulders, along with a 3 mile bridge built with only 4 foot shoulders. While this technically would meet interstate standards for long bridges, it would be ideal to widen the structure to include 10 foot shoulders, particularly if US-17 is to become apart of a statewide interstate corridor between South Carolina and Future I-87 at Williamston.

Over the next 10 years, two major segments will see improvements, including the 16 mile long Carolina Bays Parkway Extension between the South Carolina state line and Shallote, and the 13 mile long US-17 Hampstead Bypass between I-140 and north of Topsail, bringing this mileage to 93 out of 201 miles, or roughly 46%.

https://www.ncdot.gov/projects/carolina-bays-parkway/Pages/default.aspx
https://www.ncdot.gov/projects/us-17-hampstead-bypass/Pages/default.aspx

Other projects proposed, though not funded, include extending the New Bern Bypass 10 miles northward to meet US-17 north of NC-43. Assuming you're following US-17 the entire way and not shortcutting via NC-43, that would shave 10 miles off of US-17's mileage. While it would substitute the freeway mileage currently utilizing US-70, it would bring the total mileage down to 191, or 49% of the corridor up to freeway standards. Apart from that, there are currently no official plans to bring the remaining 51% up to freeway standards.



While only 32% of the corridor is up to freeway standards, raising to 46% upon completion of projects by 2030, and to 49% if the New Bern Bypass is extended, the vast majority of the corridor has seen significant improvements over the last 20 years bringing it to 4 lane divided highway. Of the 201 current miles, 169 miles are currently at least 4 lanes wide, or 84% of the corridor, currently leaving only 32 miles remaining that are 2 lane.

A project set to begin this year will widen 10 miles of US-17 between south of Williamston and north of Washington from 2 to 4 lane divided highway.

https://www.nc-eminent-domain.com/latest-projects/us-17-widening/
https://www.ncdot.gov/news/public-meetings/Pages/R-2511-2018-08-09.aspx

Additionally, a project set to begin in 2022 will widen another 7 miles from the existing 4 lane segment north of New Bern to NC-43. This leaves a 15 mile segment between south of Chocowinity and NC-43 that will be the only 2 lane segment left by 2025. A study was completed on that segment over a decade ago that evaluated potential relocation options, upgrading the Vanceboro Bypass to either expressway or freeway, etc. though as of now, I don't believe there's any funding for that segment yet.

After all segments have been upgraded to at least 4 lanes, attention may be focused on upgrading / relocating some key segments, such as Pollocksville to Jacksonville, Jacksonville to Wilmington, and Wilmington to Shallote to freeway standards throughout the next few decades, ultimately leaving a gap to be filled between New Bern and Williamston, which I'd predict would be last segment completed of a US-17 statewide freeway.
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sparker

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Re: US 17 in North Carolina (SC Line to Williamston)
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2020, 12:01:02 AM »

Question to those in the know -- is the SC section of the Carolina Bays extension north of SC 9 still a programmed project, or has SCDOT shelved/postponed it for one reason or another?  Since it was intended to segue into a like facility north of the state line, the prospects for US 17 (or parallel) improvements south of Wilmington are likely closely linked to those of the SC facility.   
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sprjus4

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Re: US 17 in North Carolina (SC Line to Williamston)
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2020, 12:22:15 AM »

Question to those in the know -- is the SC section of the Carolina Bays extension north of SC 9 still a programmed project, or has SCDOT shelved/postponed it for one reason or another?  Since it was intended to segue into a like facility north of the state line, the prospects for US 17 (or parallel) improvements south of Wilmington are likely closely linked to those of the SC facility.   
Last I was aware, South Carolina was further ahead than North Carolina, with right of way acquisition funded. The facility is to continue in North Carolina as a 4 lane freeway ending at Shallote, though their section is currently not funded.

In the future, the parkway will likely be extended either along or parallel to the US-17 corridor up to I-140.
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sparker

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Re: US 17 in North Carolina (SC Line to Williamston)
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2020, 02:56:54 AM »

Question to those in the know -- is the SC section of the Carolina Bays extension north of SC 9 still a programmed project, or has SCDOT shelved/postponed it for one reason or another?  Since it was intended to segue into a like facility north of the state line, the prospects for US 17 (or parallel) improvements south of Wilmington are likely closely linked to those of the SC facility.   
Last I was aware, South Carolina was further ahead than North Carolina, with right of way acquisition funded. The facility is to continue in North Carolina as a 4 lane freeway ending at Shallote, though their section is currently not funded.

In the future, the parkway will likely be extended either along or parallel to the US-17 corridor up to I-140.

Relatively good news regarding the ROW activity in SC.  Any timeline attached to actual letting?
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sprjus4

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Re: US 17 in North Carolina (SC Line to Williamston)
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2020, 09:49:56 AM »

Question to those in the know -- is the SC section of the Carolina Bays extension north of SC 9 still a programmed project, or has SCDOT shelved/postponed it for one reason or another?  Since it was intended to segue into a like facility north of the state line, the prospects for US 17 (or parallel) improvements south of Wilmington are likely closely linked to those of the SC facility.   
Last I was aware, South Carolina was further ahead than North Carolina, with right of way acquisition funded. The facility is to continue in North Carolina as a 4 lane freeway ending at Shallote, though their section is currently not funded.

In the future, the parkway will likely be extended either along or parallel to the US-17 corridor up to I-140.

Relatively good news regarding the ROW activity in SC.  Any timeline attached to actual letting?
Currently, no. The 2017 - 2022 STIP in South Carolina funds right of acquisition activities to begin in 2022, and the North Carolina STIP only funds planning & environmental study (currently ongoing). Construction is not yet funded in either state.
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wdcrft63

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Re: US 17 in North Carolina (SC Line to Williamston)
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2020, 05:23:10 PM »

Question to those in the know -- is the SC section of the Carolina Bays extension north of SC 9 still a programmed project, or has SCDOT shelved/postponed it for one reason or another?  Since it was intended to segue into a like facility north of the state line, the prospects for US 17 (or parallel) improvements south of Wilmington are likely closely linked to those of the SC facility.   
Last I was aware, South Carolina was further ahead than North Carolina, with right of way acquisition funded. The facility is to continue in North Carolina as a 4 lane freeway ending at Shallote, though their section is currently not funded.

In the future, the parkway will likely be extended either along or parallel to the US-17 corridor up to I-140.

Relatively good news regarding the ROW activity in SC.  Any timeline attached to actual letting?
Currently, no. The 2017 - 2022 STIP in South Carolina funds right of acquisition activities to begin in 2022, and the North Carolina STIP only funds planning & environmental study (currently ongoing). Construction is not yet funded in either state.
NCDOT held public hearings on the route in January. In both states there seems to be sentiment to push the road as far north as possible to avoid residential properties and also the commercial properties along US 17 in NC.
https://www.wwaytv3.com/2020/01/06/sunset-beach-discusses-carolina-bays-parkway-extension/
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RoadPelican

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Re: US 17 in North Carolina (SC Line to Williamston)
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2020, 06:07:14 PM »

I did a little research around the Jacksonville portion of US 17.

There are currently 4 signalized intersections from the eastern end of the US 17 JAX Bypass to the outskirts of JAX.

In the STIP 2020-2029, 2 of the 4 are set to be converted into full interchanges (JAX Parkway & Western Blvd).

On the western end of the US 17 JAX Bypass, the current signalized intersection of (Curtis Rd/Old Maplehurst Rd) is also set to be converted into a SPUI interchange in the 2020-2029 STIP.

Down towards Holly Ridge, NC 210 and US 17 is on the State DOT projects list to go from signalized intersection to interchange, however it is not in the latest STIP (2020-2029)

After the Hampstead bypass is built, there will be only 5 signalized intersections from JAX to Brunswick County.
(6 if you count the Holly Ridge end of NC 210)

-Dawson Cabin Road
-NC 172
-NC 50
-NC 210-Surf City
-Sloop Point Loop Road (Southern End near Topsail Middle School)

If I were NCDOT, I would look at building a bypass of Holly Ridge, this is where US 17 is currently a 45 MPH blvd with that dreaded center turn lane.

Also, it is weird that the Hampstead bypass ends where it does, very close to the traffic light at SPL road, I think it should have been extended further north past the NC 210-Surf City area.  I think with all of the growth happening in Coastal Pender County, it's better to have too much of a bypass then too little.

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sprjus4

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Re: US 17 in North Carolina (SC Line to Williamston)
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2020, 07:19:09 PM »

In the STIP 2020-2029, 2 of the 4 are set to be converted into full interchanges (JAX Parkway & Western Blvd).
I don't recall a full interchange planned at Western Blvd...?

As for the Jacksonville Parkway, this one is a bit interesting. The current interchange layout favors US-17 as the thru movement, and is actually designed (note the ramp stubs) to accommodate a future interchange with Western Blvd and eliminate two lights on US-17 (US-17 Business and Western Blvd).

However, more recent plans call to give Jacksonville Pkwy continuity (why?) with a new diverging diamond interchange and require you to exit to continue onto US-17, a very poor design IMO that does not favor thru traffic movements the slightest.

http://jumpo-nc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/U5951_25pct_Plans-11x17.pdf

The original plan should be continued to be built out in full, not this garbage produced by the city to satisfy local traffic flow - the intention to allow US-17 Business North traffic to access Jacksonville Pkwy north. It's a good proposal, but there's other ways to do that while maintaining US-17 continuity.

Additionally, and this is getting fictional, an elevated Western Blvd interchange on US-17 could allow for an eventual continuation of a 6 lane urban freeway design with frontage roads along US-17 up to Wolf Swamp, where it could transition back to the existing 4 lane divided highway or be upgraded from that point north to 4 lane rural freeway.

On the western end of the US 17 JAX Bypass, the current signalized intersection of (Curtis Rd/Old Maplehurst Rd) is also set to be converted into a SPUI interchange in the 2020-2029 STIP.
This project, along with the poor design proposed at US-17 / US-17 Business, are slated to begin in 2025.

Current design plan - http://jumpo-nc.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/U5735_rdy_pmm_ALT1_Y3_Exh.pdf - tying seamlessly into the US-17 freeway bypass, albeit with lane changes necessary to remain on for northbound.

Down towards Holly Ridge, NC 210 and US 17 is on the State DOT projects list to go from signalized intersection to interchange, however it is not in the latest STIP (2020-2029)
I don't recall a full interchange planned at US-17 / NC-210...?

After the Hampstead bypass is built, there will be only 5 signalized intersections from JAX to Brunswick County.
(6 if you count the Holly Ridge end of NC 210)

-Dawson Cabin Road
-NC 172
-NC 50
-NC 210-Surf City
-Sloop Point Loop Road (Southern End near Topsail Middle School)
While no full interchanges are planned, various improvements are programmed that would eliminate / reduce these signals.

Dawson Cabin Rd -
NC-172 - Superstreet improvements proposed, could eliminate signal.
NC-50 - No improvements planned
NC-210 / Surf City - A Continuous Green T intersection is proposed which would allow southbound traffic to go through without a signal. Northbound, however, would have one.
Sloop Point Loop Rd - Superstreet improvements proposed apart of Hampstead Bypass, though would retain signal.

Additionally, the Hampstead Bypass would add a signal northbound just north of the bypass for a new frontage road south of Sloop Point Loop Rd, a new signal at Long Leaf Dr, and a new southbound signal at Lodge Rd further north. See video for latest design of bypass, which thankfully removed that wonky northern interchange originally proposed.


If I were NCDOT, I would look at building a bypass of Holly Ridge, this is where US 17 is currently a 45 MPH blvd with that dreaded center turn lane.

Also, it is weird that the Hampstead bypass ends where it does, very close to the traffic light at SPL road, I think it should have been extended further north past the NC 210-Surf City area.  I think with all of the growth happening in Coastal Pender County, it's better to have too much of a bypass then too little.
Agreed, and I think ultimately, again getting into fictional, an extended Holly Ridge Bypass should be constructed from north of Holly Ridge all the way to the upgraded US-17 segment just north of the Hampstead Bypass, to provide a continous freeway from I-140 to north of Holly Rodge, where it is largely open expressway from that point that would require less upgrades to bring to freeway standards if to be extended to Jacksonville.
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wdcrft63

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Re: US 17 in North Carolina (SC Line to Williamston)
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2020, 06:55:39 PM »

I'm interested in the US 17/NC 211 intersection in Supply, Brunswick County, a troublesome stoplight. Last May NCDOT presented an plan to convert the intersection to an interchange, simply slapping the interchange down and wiping out all the commercial development. Surely shifting US 17 north a short distance would be much less disruptive. I haven't seen any follow-up on this.
https://www.ncdot.gov/news/public-meetings/Documents/U-5932-public-meeting-map.pdf
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