A sound-class ferry in the evening Pamlico Sound. Photo: C. Leinbach

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RALEIGH – An updated version of the state’s draft 10-year transportation plan includes replacement of the sound-class ferry M/V Silver Lake in the 2025 fiscal year.

A new ferry, for the price of $18 million, is included in 144 new transportation projects in the updated plan, called the Draft 2018-2027 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP),  available here.

In addition, the construction schedules were accelerated for hundreds of other projects.

“The Silver Lake was built in 1965, so it is the oldest in the fleet right now,” said Tim Hass, Ferry Division spokesman.

He said it was too early to say what will the division will do with the Silver Lake once the new one is built because that will probably depend on the condition it’s in eight years from now.

Division 1, which consists of Bertie, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hertford, Hyde, Martin, Northampton, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell and Washington counties, will see a number of improvements as a result of the update.

New projects include:

  • Upgrade U.S. 17 to interstate standards from U.S. 17/158 north of Elizabeth City to the Virginia state line; and
  • A new sound-class ferry to replace the M/V Silver Lake which serves the Ocracoke-Cedar Island and Ocracoke-Swan Quarter routes.

The following projects have been accelerated:

  • Safety improvements for U.S. 158 in Gates County from Acorn Hill Road to the Pasquotank County line will begin in 2023 instead of 2025; and
  • Safety and modernization improvements for U.S. 17 in Pasquotank County from Church Street to U.S. 17 Business will begin in 2023 instead of 2025.

In total, in addition to a new sound-class ferry, Division 1 is slated to receive one additional bicycle and pedestrian project, three aviation, two highway and one transit projects.

“The projects included in this update are exactly the types of projects that the people of northeastern North Carolina need to improve access to jobs and educational opportunities,” said Division 1 Board of Transportation representative Allen Moran.

The adjustments reflect updated financial information, including projected revenues, and lower inflation and construction cost overruns.

The plan was initially scheduled to be approved by the Board of Transportation at its June meeting, but approval was delayed to allow the department to update the document to reflect the changes.

NCDOT is now holding a public comment period on the updated version of the document until July 12.

Anyone who would like to provide comments should contact Diane Wilson at pdwilson@ncdot.gov, or call 919-707-6073.

The final 2018-2027 STIP is expected to be approved by the board in August.

More information about the STIP and how transportation projects are funded is available at ncdot.gov/strategictransportationinvestments/.


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