State highway officials are in Washington today to dedicate and cut the ribbon on the long awaited U.S. 17 Bypass. But drivers will have to wait several weeks longer to actually use the new $198-million bypass.
The D.O.T. had hoped the 6.8 mile long project would have been completed in time for the ribbon cutting, but cold weather has delayed that until next month. A D.O.T. spokeswoman says they decided to go ahead with the ceremony because invitations had already gone out. The D.O.T. says ribbon cuttings without an actual opening have happened before, but could not say when that last happened with a major project.
New Bern's new drawbridge bridge across the Trent River was also supposed to have a ceremony today, even though it too is not ready. City officials there told the D.O.T. it wanted the ceremony to actually coincide with the bridge opening.
The Washington bypass, which includes a 3-mile long bridge, is actually eight months ahead of its original completion date.