Construction plans pushed back for Hwy 17 bypass through Navassa

Reported by Gavin Johnson - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - The Department of Transportation's decision to push back plans to build a section of the Highway 17 bypass through Navassa has led to a discrimination lawsuit.

"We feel that the town of Navassa is discriminated against," said Navassa Mayor Eulis Willis.  "If not discriminated, at least being slighted by the DOT."

According to Willis, the original plans to build the section of bypass near Navassa topped the construction list.  Now, plans call for crews to start on the other end of the roadway.

"They're telling me it's a money deal," said Willis.  "Then they're telling me about spending. They're looking at spending two thousand million dollars on that skyway bridge, but they're telling me they can't afford $224 million for this project."

Willis believes the bypass will be a boost to economic growth in the community.

"With a main road, that will allow us to advertise ourselves as an economic center - we have rail, gas, water everything you need," said Willis.

Congressman Mike McIntyre knew little about the complaint earlier this week, but urged the town's taxpayers to keep fighting.

"Press on, it's our tax dollars and people ought to see a return on their tax dollars, and it's worth it, always worth standing up and being heard," said McIntyre.

The bypass was originally scheduled to be built in Navassa in 2012, but Willis said it has been pushed back to 2017 or later.

According to DOT officials, the change was a financial decision and race had nothing to do with it.

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