In an agreement announced Monday and reported in the News & Observer, NCDOT will give a conservation easement to protect land it will own along the 10.3-mile bypass, as well as provide $5.3 million to the N.C. Coastal Land Trust to create a fund to protect land in and around the Croatan National Forest. NCDOT also will establish a $2 million revolving loan fund that could be used to protect property elsewhere in Carteret, Craven and Jones counties.
According to the News & Observer, NCDOT also pledges to use “sensitive construction practices” when it builds the four-lane divided highway through a section of the Croatan National Forest, south of Havelock away from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.
In exchange, the Sierra Club and the Southern Environmental Law Center agreed to drop a lawsuit they filed in federal court seeking to stop the highway.
More from the News & Observer article.
The Havelock bypass is one of two major projects that will eventually turn U.S. 70 into a controlled-access expressway from Raleigh to Carteret County. The other project is an expressway through James City (details here).
Plans are underway for a Kinston bypass following completion of the Goldsboro bypass on U.S. 70.