The firm selected to design several portions of the Hampstead Bypass project and upgrades to U.S. 17 in Hampstead are working on plans for the major construction project, which is expected to begin in the fall of 2020.
Nearly $9 million is going toward designing the Hampstead Bypass and another $1.7 million on work for designing the upgrades to U.S. 17 in Hampstead, according to officials with Stantec Inc. (NYSE:STN), an international consulting design company, that was chosen by the N.C. Department of Transportation for the projects.
The project area includes the connection from Interstate 140 to U.S. 17 north of Hampstead. Engineers with Stantec, out of the firm's Raleigh office, have been working on the project alongside NCDOT officials for several years.
Stantec was chosen to design Sections A and B of the Hampstead Bypass (the final awarded in mid-2017) and improvements to U.S. 17 in Hampstead in 2015, firm officials said.
Officials with the company said Thursday that designs will take about two and a half years, followed by right-of-way acquisition and utility relocation, prior to a construction contract being awarded to a firm in the fall 2020.
The Hampstead Bypass consists of a 12-mile-long highway with four interchanges, four overpasses and a total of 16 bridges, according to a news release.
Engineers are working on drainage designs, soil borings and roadway and bridge designs, said Ricky Greene, project manager with Stantec.
“The key feature in terms of size and impressiveness might be the I-140 and U.S. 17 interchange with the bypass … It’s going to be a pretty impressive-looking interchange,” Greene said.
The project includes a major three-level interchange at I-140 between the Military Cutoff Road Extension
and the Hampstead Bypass. That interchange will include a 1,400 foot-long bridge that reaches 50 feet in height.
The projects total $250 million in construction, according to Stantec's release. Previous estimates given by the NCDOT in 2017 put the project around $230 million.
Section A of the Hampstead Bypass – connecting the Wilmington Bypass to N.C. 210 – is not yet funded for construction. Section B of the project, which runs from N.C. 210 connecting to U.S. 17 north of Topsail schools, is funded for construction, according to NCDOT. The upgrades to U.S. 17 are also fully funded.
“This project sets an example on how every project should be designed and delivered. We are very proud of our entire team's effort to make this bypass and median project a reality,” Chad Kimes, deputy division 3 engineer for NCDOT, said in the release.
“The design will require avoidance and/or minimizing environmental impacts to wetlands, streams, and threatened plant and animal species. Safety improvements to 5 miles of U.S. 17 in Hampstead will include a new median to control left turns, two-phase signalized u-turn bulbs, and sidewalks on each side,” Stantec officials said in the release.
The bypass is anticipated to improve mobility between New Hanover and Pender counties and improve safety and congestion on U.S. 17 in Hampstead, officials said.