West Side Duck Trail Feasibility Study

The proposed multi-use trail feasibility study in Duck has the overall goal of developing connectivity on the westbound side of NC-12 from Southern Shores, NC all the way into Duck Village. The proposed development fills the void for missing critical infrastructure along the westbound side of NC-12. The multi-use trail will work to expand transportation options as well as address environmental concerns in the area. The feasibility study will identify alternatives to determine the most beneficial and effective design.

The study is being directed and developed by VHB and the Town of Duck. The study will analyze various alternative development options for the west-bound side of Route-12, to determine the most beneficial outcome for the community and their needs. In this study, there will be an in-depth analysis into the alternatives, costs, and overall efficacy of implementation. 

The Town hosted an Open House on November 29, 2023 . The Town and its consultant presented the background of the study and hear from the community.  You are encouraged to view the presentation and submit your comments by using this form.

A PDF of the presentation is available by clicking here.

The area of the feasibility study is a linear stretch along the west side of N.C. Highway 12 (Duck Road) from the existing crosswalk at the southern end of Duck Village (at Aqua Restaurant & Spa) approximately 5,000 feet (0.95 mile) in length to the southern boundary of the Town.  The study area passes across the entrances to ten neighborhoods that adjoin the west side of Highway 12.  It is anticipated that a vast majority of the multi-use path can be accommodated within the existing Highway 12 right-of-way.  The Town would negotiate with individual property owners if/where further easements are necessary. To view a map of the project area, click here.
The west side of N.C. Highway 12 currently has no shoulder south of Duck Village.  Bicycle traffic is forced into the vehicular travel lane of the highway.  Pedestrian traffic is severely limited by topography as the highway abuts steep slopes in several areas and also contains low-lying areas subject to flooding.  Pedestrians rarely brave this stretch, choosing instead to make dangerous unmarked crossings to the eastside Duck Trail, which requires crossing N.C. Highway 12, a busy two-lane highway presently used by over 20,000 vehicles per day during high tourist season.  By eliminating the necessity of crossing Highway 12, the addition of a westside path will allow residents and visitors much safer and convenient access to Duck Village. The westside multi-use path study is a project specifically recommended in the Town’s adopted Comprehensive Pedestrian Plan.  To implement this recommendation, detailed studies and engineering are needed to determine the feasibility, design, and estimated costs of this project before project financing, permitting, and construction can be considered.  The importance of this project was further emphasized during the recent adoption of the Duck 2032 Vision as the Town Council specified the study as a specific implementation goal.
The Town of Duck’s Comprehensive Pedestrian Plan outlines recommended infrastructure improvements, project costs, safety policies, and education programs. Adopted in 2014, the plan recommendations include:
  • Add sidewalks along both sides of Duck Road throughout the village.
  • Make improvements and add lighting to crosswalks in the village.
  • Establish dedicated bike lanes within the shoulders along Duck Road.
  • Extend the existing shared use path north and south of Duck Village to connect with the planned improvements in the village.
  • Improve safety at intersections through signs, pavement marking, and removing obstructions.
  • Correct stormwater ponding issues that impede pedestrian and bicycle traffic.
  • Provide a variety of education programs and materials regarding pedestrian and bicycle safety.
Click here for more information.
The Town of Duck has contracted with the planning/engineering firm Vanesse Hangen Brustlin (VHB) to complete the Westside Path Feasibility Study. VHB has worked with the Town to plan opportunities for public engagement and comments throughout the study project. So, all adjoining neighborhoods and property owners will have the opportunity to participate in the study. The N.C. Department of Transportation and local utility companies will also be involved during the study to provide information about current utilities and input about relocating utilities or the location of the pathway to avoid conflicts.
VHB has identified the following steps necessary to complete the study:
  • Review and summarize data to gain a better understanding of past, present, and future issues to serve as a foundation in developing alternatives for the multi-use path.
  • Develop pathway design and alignment alternatives.
  • Solicit input from adjoining neighborhoods and property owners (NOTE: These public engagement opportunities will include public meetings, surveys, and stakeholder meetings and occur at several stages throughout the study process).
  • Evaluate information, alternatives, and public feedback to develop a preferred alternative for the multi-use path design, alignment, and associated improvements.
  • Produce an implementation strategy including a schedule for completion, summary of tasks, and estimates for required resources (such as staffing and funding options).
  • A final report will be presented to the public at a Town Council meeting and made available on the Town’s website.
The initial data collection began during the summer of 2023. VHB anticipates completion of the study by June 2024. Opportunities for public engagement and input will be announced and publicized throughout the project.
The resulting conceptual plan, construction phases, and estimated construction costs will be used as the Town seeks grant funding opportunities for more detailed design, engineering, and construction in the future. In addition, identifying potential construction phases and costs will assist the Town Council with planning and budgeting for this project in future years. Defining utility locations and potential conflicts will give the Town plenty of time to work out solutions with affected utility companies. Identifying potential stormwater management improvements will allow the opportunity to work with neighborhood associations and individual property owners to develop the best solutions to address these issues.
Questions about the Westside Multi-Use Path Feasibility Study can be directed to Community Development Director Joe Heard at jheard@townofduck.com , Senior Planner Sandy Cross at scross@townofduck.com, and/or Community Planner Jim Gould at jgould@townofduck.com.