JAMES CITY, Craven County — Some James City businesses are going to be forced to relocate since the state made the decision to widen North Carolina Highway 70.
Some people already know they're out and are waiting to see how much the state will pay for their property. However, others are in limbo because they don't know what the project is going to mean for them.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation released an animated birds-eye view of what Hwy. 70 through James City could look like once construction is complete. The project will widen the lanes, which means not everyone can stay.
One of those places is Brice's Creek Bible Church. Pastor Barry Teague recalls receiving the news a year ago and the impact it had on his congregation. "I think people were shocked but are very hopeful," said Teague.
Pastor Teague said his congregation is one of the lucky ones. They own 32 acres down the road and plan to relocate there. But he said time is ticking and the state still hasn't made them an offer for the property it plans to take over. "The delay in acquisition has been a concern for us over the last year because we know what we need to do so we are eager to get started," said Teague. "But they need to also understand their responsibility to provide the funds, the fair and equatable funds necessary for us to be able to actually build at our new location."
Just down the road at Big Rock Power Sports Marine they're also in limbo, not knowing how much of their property, if any, the state will take. "A lot of people have a lot changing to do so it's up in the air," said Sales Manager Scott Allen.
Allen said they've only been here four years and don't want to relocate.
Carolina Grill is in a different situation. They are staying but will battle construction outside their doors for a while. Butch Ipock said at first when he heard the news he too was concerned, but now has a different look. "I think it's going to slow down business while its under construction, but once they get it done I think it will be a good thing," said Ipock.
For Teague he's just ready to start construction on his new church and says all he can do right now is pray. "We're looking forward to the next phase God has for us," said Teague.
A spokesperson for North Carolina DOT said they will start the right of way acquisition in July.
Also NCDOT will hold a public meeting February 26th from 5-7 p.m. in the cafeteria of Brinson Memorial Elementary School for anyone wanting to learn more information on the project. A second meeting is scheduled for February 27th from 5-7 p.m. at the pavilion at Carolina Colours.