Traffic gridlock caused by truck crash puts Hampstead Bypass back in spotlight

First part of Hampstead Bypass project to begin in 2022

HAMPSTEAD, N.C. (WECT) - In the wake of Monday afternoon’s gridlock on U.S. 17 in Hampstead, after a truck collided into a pole, attention has been brought back to the Hampstead Bypass, one of the biggest and longest delayed highway projects in the area. The proposed bypass would allow drivers to avoid the area’s growing congestion.

“I had to go down to 210, down Shaw Highway, to Highway 53, to Highway 50, that came out at Holly Ridge, and it took me about an hour to get back home,” said John Wetmore, a driver who saw the truck accident happen in real time.

“I heard a spark, shock noise from electrical power and looked out here and a green trash truck had pulled in here slowly. And, by that time, the telephone poll had snapped in half and was dangling on the ground,” said Wetmore.

The accident not only knocked out power to nearby residences, but businesses trying to recover from financial losses due to the pandemic.

“Losing money for our business — the inconvenience of having that happen and not having a proper time frame — I know things are very fluid, but it really had an effect on us,” said Jabbar Brewer, manager of the Burrito Shack that is nearby.

Construction will begin on the northern part a year from now. The project is set to take four years with a completion date of 2026.

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