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Havelock NC Bypass Announced – Interstate 42 Corridor, How Will It Affect Carteret County?

What we know about the pending Havelock bypass in NC, the Interstate 42 corridor project, and how it could affect the Carteret County communities of Newport, Beaufort, Morehead City, Atlantic Beach, Cape Carteret, and Emerald Isle. Your discussion and comments, along with social media sharing on sites like Facebook and Twitter, on this article are at the end of this document.

  • Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Inc out of Wilmington, NC was awarded the contract by the NCDOT to complete this new construction.
  • Construction should begin in September / November 2019 and is slated to be completed in 2024.
  • $21 million dollar contract.
  • The bypass will be a 10.3-mile four lane highway starting about 5 miles from Havelock in Craven County and will terminate between McCotter Blvd and the Carteret County NC line.
  • Construction will take the new bypass through the Croatan National Forest. The Sierra Club filed a lawsuit in 2017 to stop this project on the grounds that it could hurt longleaf pine trees in the Croatan, but lost this action in court.
  • A population and development boom is expected for Newport NC, communities along Highway 101 extending in to North River and Merrimon. Some locations in Morehead City such as Crab Point could see new development.

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Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Inc made the announcement today (August 2, 2019) ahead of the NCDOT giving light to what is inevitable. A bypass through Havelock NC is set to begin as early as September 2019 and end in the Spring of 2024.

This bypass through the Croatan National Forest is part of the Interstate 42 corridor project intended to create a functional interstate from Raleigh to Carteret County along Highway 70.

Opportunities For Businesses
Similar projects in Smithfield and Goldsboro are already completed. Information on when New Bern and Kinston will see new construction is yet to be announced.

How Will This Affect Carteret County?

While it is hard to say what new economic and development projects are happening behind the scenes, here are just some projections our staff sees happening in the county as it relates to the new Havelock bypass and Interstate as a whole. Again, your comments and discussions are encouraged below.

  • The time to drive from Morehead City to Raleigh would likely be cut by up to 50 minutes once all segments are built. Given just the Smithfield, Goldsboro, and pending Havelock project, drivers could see a 25 minute decrease in the time it takes to drive this route.
  • New business and residential development in Newport along Highway 70 and Highway 24 to Cape Carteret will explode.
  • Areas in Harlowe and communities along Highway 101 will see a similar boom.
  • Areas along North River, Merrimon, and Down East will see a moderate impact from this project.
  • Morehead City is somewhat immune from new construction because it has water on three sides, but wooded areas in Crab Point could see new residential development.
  • We fear that resorts and wooded areas on Bogue Banks in Atlantic Beach, Pine Knoll Shores, Salter Path, Indian Beach, and Emerald Isle will eventually be demolished and new construction of bigger brand infrastructure will replace them.
  • Cherry Point will become much bigger and strategic than it already is and will create new high tech and aviation related jobs.
  • Overall business development everywhere in Carteret County NC is likely, which will require a much greater population and economy.
  • All schools, hospitals, major roads, and bridges will have to be upgraded.
  • Locally owned small businesses will be be threatened by big brand names.
  • The Beaufort NC airport will likely start seeing commercial commuter service to Charlotte NC.
  • The impacts on local beaches and waterways will be significant.
  • Until major and heavy traveled secondary roads are upgraded, traffic in Newport, Morehead City, Beaufort, and Atlantic Beach will significantly higher than what the area already sees during major holidays.
  • A new medical center / hospital will have to be built to meet the new population. This will likely happen in the Eastern part of the county.
  • A new bridge connecting Newport and Bogue Banks will have to be constructed.

Again, these are just our projections. We have no inside information on any development and economic impacts on the area.


Like most things that happen in the county, there will be a segment of the population that will love the new economy that the Interstate 42 corridor and Havelock bypass will bring, while another segment will be extremely unhappy about our quaint and hidden small town feel community could be affected. Using the comments below, tell us where you stand on this topic.

Commercial fishing is a big deal in our area, how do you see the new population boom and tourism boom affecting this industry? While tourism related businesses might expect to see a windfall, there is the threat of these locally owned businesses being bought out by big brand hotels and other infrastructure. How do you feel about this?

It is going to be very hard to create new sandy beaches in the area, how do you think our current beaches will be affected by this impact, or what can be done to mitigate it?

If you are a business owner or homeowner, what are you doing now to prepare for the impact of the new interstate system? How do you foresee residential property values being affected?

It is estimated that businesses along the current Highway 70 stretch could see dramatic changes. While some are expecting the new bypass to hurt businesses in that area, we foresee the expansion of Cherry Point creating a potential boom for existing businesses.

How will wildlife in the Croatan National Forest be affected?

Note: If you are an official with the NCDOT, politician, affiliated with Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Inc, or have some type of other official position related to this project and you want to officially comment or add information to this document, please contact us so that we can verify your position.

Havelock Bypass Information Update

December 2021: Things seem to be progressing quickly. There is very noticeable construction on both sides of Havelock where this road will bypass the town, and considerable construction on Lake Road between this town and Newport.

Further Reading
EOF: Havelock bypass, Craven County, Interstate 42

Michael Sharp

Native of Carteret County NC, Father to Makayla and Savannah. You can add me on Facebook. Interest include web development, encryption, and other technologies.

One thought on “Havelock NC Bypass Announced – Interstate 42 Corridor, How Will It Affect Carteret County?

  • August 3, 2019 at 1:20 am

    I noticed nobody is screaming about burning up the phone lines talking to legislators and talking with other non-profit legal entities to file lawsuit after lawsuit to resist this project. Why? It’s a done deal. This is going to happen and it will forever change the face of the county.

    I just hope business leaders, local Mayors, the Carteret County Commissioners, and other leaders love this old town community as much as the rest of use and resist the drive to over develop and over commercialize. The communities on the Crystal Coast have a good thing going with the quaintness and unspoiled beaches and coast line we have here. Any attempts to overlook the beaches, greenery, small businesses, and culture in favor of concrete, pawn shops, tattoo parlors, high rise big brand hotels, amusement parks, adult entertainment, and the like will not be good for this community.

    While I realize the need for good jobs, better paying jobs and better economic advancement and better opportunities, one only needs to look at Wilmington and Myrtle Beach crime rates as a reason to take our time and really study this.


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