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Approved plan is great news for Havelock bypass project

The plan was tied up in a lawsuit but the NC Department of Transportation announced Monday the plan is going forward with approval from the Sierra Club. (Nate Belt, NewsChannel 12 photo)

There is now a green light for a plan that shortens your drive to the beach and keeps you from all the stop-and-go traffic in Havelock.

The plan was tied up in a lawsuit but the NC Department of Transportation announced Monday the plan is going forward with approval from the Sierra Club. The new bypass will speed up travel time to the beach but at a cost of cutting through part of the Croatan National Forest. So groups like the NC chapter of the Sierra Club reached out to the DOT to find a plan that was environmentally conscious.

CLICK HERE for a link from the DOT with more on the project

After a year of planning, a solution was found. Havelock Mayor Will Lewis said he was impressed with the two parties' ability to work together toward a solution.

"When you think about how different their two view points are, and theyve been sitting at a table for about a year now, and they found a way to do it," Lewis said. "So that makes us happy. It's part of our identity, the national forest and the water ways, that's part of who we are in Havelock."

The project begins in February 2019 and will cost about $221 million to complete. The DOT will use minimally invasive construction methods and will used prescribed burns to clear trees. It's a practice already done as a way to manage the forest.

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