The Ocean Highway - US 17
Elizabeth City Bypass
Near the end of 2002, a much awaited and asked for limited access US 17 bypass of Elizabeth City opened.  The 11 mile highway has been on the wish list of many local and through travelers for over 20 years.  The four lane highway "...avoid[s] 20 traffic lights from one side of town to the other." (1)  The 65 mile per hour bypass is the third US 17 to be signed in Elizabeth City.  The original US 17 ran through the center of the Dismal Swamp Canal town.  It was bypassed in the 1960s and became known as US 17 Business.  The bypass that then opened became US 17 Bypass.  However, as the city grew, the bypass, which did not have access control, became littered with development and traffic.  Upon completion of the new bypass, the former bypass lost its title and became plain ol' US 17.  Below, some pictures from the new and old bypasses:

The Beginning of the US 17 Bypass of Elizabeth
City (Adam Froehlig)

The old US 17 Bypass, now stripped of its
crown (Adam Froehlig)

The Northern Terminus of the original US 17,
Business US 17.  (Adam Froehlig)
Elizabeth City was first settled in 1793 and really did not grow into regional importance until the completion of the Dismal Swamp Canal in 1805. (2)  Today, the canal is more widely used for recreational boaters to and from the Intracostal Waterway.  The city's waterfront along the shores of the Pasquotank River is a very popular destination for private boaters throughout the summer months.  A walking tour of the city's six historical districts connects 32 historic sites together.

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    Sources & Links:

  • (1) Hampton, Jeffrey S. "Elizabeth City bypass opening in two weeks." The Virginian-Pilot. November 15, 2002
  • (2) Unknown. "The Harbor of Hospitality." Elizabeth City, NC -The Albemarle Region of NC... (March 15, 2003)
  • US 17 @ Annex ---Mike Roberson
  • US 17 Photos @ ---Alex Nitzman
  • High Priority Corridor #10 @ ---Andy Field/Alex Nitzman
  • Images of Elizabeth City
  • Historic Elizabeth City



    Page Created: March 15, 2003
    Last Updated: November 3, 2007
    © 2003-07 Adam Prince