GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Local governments are hoping the state will fund a feasibility study that will focus on a potential new way of traveling between Beaufort and Pitt counties.
The Mid-East Rural Planning Organization, which includes Beaufort and Pitt counties, is submitting a North Carolina Department of Transportation funding request for a Washington-Greenville greenway feasibility study. If approved, the greenway would be part of the East Coast Greenway Alternate Coastal Route and part of N.C. Bicycle Route 2: Mountains to Sea. It would connect with the existing City of Greenville Greenway System.
The existing N.C. Bicycle Route 2 follows U.S. 264 between Beaufort and Pitt counties. The existing route was evaluated during the development of Beaufort County’s Comprehensive Bicycle Plan.
“With the current design, traffic volumes, and speed limit, the vast majority of U.S. 264 in this area was classified as ‘not recommended for bicyclists,’ while a smaller portion of the route was classified as ‘suitable for the advanced/confident/ adult bicycling population,'” Mid-East ROP’s funding application reads in part
The feasibility study will include an analysis of three potential routes: U.S. 264, Tar River and N.C. 33.
The project is already included in comprehensive bicycle and transportation plans in Beaufort and Pitt counties. Beaufort County Manager Brian Alligood, Assistant Pitt County Manager James F. Rhodes and Washington City Manager Jonathan Russell all have filed letters of support for the funding application.
The cost of the feasibility study is $140,000. If funding is awarded, NCDOT would cover 95% of the cost, and the remainder would be covered by a $7,000 local match that would be split between Beaufort County, Washington, Pitt County and Greenville.
The Beaufort County Board of Commissioners is set to vote Monday on the approval of Beaufort County as the lead agency for the project.
“This project will have a major regional impact as part of a state bicycle route and a multi-state greenway system,” the funding application reads. “It also fulfills a long-term goal of providing a bicycle/pedestrian connection between the two cities. The Washington-Greenville Greenway will be a recreational amenity for residents and visitors alike.”
The feasibility study will include an analysis of existing conditions along each of the corridors. The study will also yield cost estimates and other data needed for DOT’s prioritization process, and it will identify funding sources to cover those costs.