POLLOCKSVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – A new $143 million construction project is raising concerns on how the finished product could impact businesses in two Jones County towns.
“There’s always going to be some people that’s not going to like it,” commented Christine Phillips. “No change, yeah.”
As a waitress at Trent Family Restaurant in Pollocksville, Phillips serves a steady stream of customers every day and sees a steady stream of traffic roll through town on U.S. 17.
But a new project underway will take much of that traffic away from town and onto a new bypass.
Phillips said her customer’s reaction to the project is mixed, “Good and bad. I mean, you heard the bad side of it. Then you hear the good side of it. Me personally, I think it’s good.”
What’s good is that the streets in and around Pollocksville and Maysville will be safer because of less traffic.
What could be bad is a potential loss of business in those towns because less people will drive through.
NCDOT officials say they’ll do what they can to make sure the small towns are left behind because of the bypass.
“We’ll have access off of the new alignment,” explained Brad McMannen, NCDOT resident engineer. “There at Maysville, there will be, basically, existing 17 will become Business 17. And you’ll be able to access it from both the south side of Maysville and the north side of Maysville. There in Pollocksville, there will be an exit ramp of the new alignment at 58 for Pollocksville access. And you’ll still have access off existing U.S. Business 17 coming from New Bern. Also Lee’s Chapel Road will have access to Pollocksville.”
One business owner 9 On Your Side spoke with who declined to be interviewed on camera said most of his customers are driving to and from the beach and that the bypass would eliminate them from stopping. Town leaders in both Pollocksville and Maysville say they’re still working on plans to make sure businesses aren’t affected and hope to have something more concrete in place once the bypass opens in 2020.
It’s business as usual until then for Christine and the restaurant. And she said, no matter how you feel about the project, change is on the way, “It is what it is. They’re going to do it not matter if people like it or they don’t like it. You just have to live with it and make the best of it.”
The new bypass is expected to run for 16 miles, from just north of Pollocksville heading south to just past Belgrade in Onslow County.