JONES COUNTY -

 The North Carolina Department of Transportation has secured the final funds to start building a Hwy 17 Bypass in Jones County.

The new roadway will go from the outskirts of Craven County through Jones County into Onslow county. It will give drivers the option of driving around the towns of Pollocksville and Maysville.

Executive Director for the Highway 17 Association Marc Finlayson said part of the reason the project took sometime to be finalized was because the NCDOT still needed $56,000,000 to fund the project. He said they have secured all the permits to start construction. 

The new road would have four lanes. Finlayson said this would alleviate the heavy and dangerous traffic along the existing Hwy 17.  The bypass will look similar to the Hwy 17 exit going towards Kinston, Finlayson said.

Pollocksville Mayor Jay Bender agrees that having a four-lane by-pass will provide a safer and more efficient commute between counties.

“People come through at speeds much in excess of 35 miles an hour. It’s hard to slow them down. I think it will make some major changes in our safety. It will be much quieter in Pollocksville, and it will be much safer,” Mayor Bender said.

The first stretch goes around Pollocksville in Jones County. Mayor Bender said the four-lane intersection would allow drivers to come on and off the bypass near Pollocksville. He believes it will help bring more commerce to the area.

Between Pollocksville and Maysville, the project plans to build on the existing Hwy 17 road and expand it to four lanes. A few homes in the Chadwick area will have to be displaced or lose part of their land for the  new roadway construction.

Finlayson said officials are already pending money in Jones County with landowners acquiring right of way. White stakes have been placed along areas of Hwy 17 where the road will be expanded.

Right before the road gets to Maysville it will veer into a direct bypass to Jacksonville.

Those who wish to drive to the beach will still have to go through the town of Maysville and to drive onto Hwy 58.

Officials said construction will begin by the end of 2015.