Location & Transportation

The Region

crystal coast location & transportationCarteret County “The Crystal Coast” is part of the Southern Outer Banks and located in the southern area of NCEast Alliance (NCEA). The Alliance is a regional, private, not-for-profit, economic development agency serving more than 1 million residents within several small metropolitan and micropolitan areas from the fringe of the Research Triangle to the Atlantic Coast. The Alliance provides community capacity building and assists companies with site location and expansion decisions. PlanIt East, a regional planning forum, projects an additional 600,000 persons to call the region home by 2030 with significant portion of this growth occurring along the coast.


crystal coast location & transportationLocation

Carteret County is ideally situated midway between Boston and Miami. Two-thirds of U.S. commercial facilities are within a day’s trucking distance. The county is bordered by Onslow County to the west, Jones County to the Northwest, Craven County to the North and Pamlico County to the Northeast, across the Neuse River. Major county municipalities include Atlantic Beach, Beaufort, Bogue, Cape Carteret, Cedar Point, Emerald Isle, Indian Beach, Morehead City, Newport, Peletier and Pine Knoll Shores.


Crystal Coast Location & TtransportationU.S. Highway 70, a four-lane road, is the Eastern Region’s “Main Street”, linking Carteret County to major East Coast markets and the Raleigh-Durham/Research Triangle to the west. Interstate 95 is 105 miles from the Port of Morehead City (FTZ). Interstate 40 is 63 miles away via four-lane NC 24 and U.S. 17 providing access to the Port of Wilmington (FTZ).

The Global TransPark (FTZ) is 78 miles from the Port of Morehead City via I-70 and 88 miles to the Port of Wilmington via Hwy. 70.

Click here for additional information on North Carolina’s Department of Transportation (NCDOT).

2016 Traffic Counts

Carteret/Craven County Line
Hwy. 70 & Hibbs Road
Hwy. 70 & Hwy. 24 Morehead City
Hwy. 70 & Hwy 101 west, Beaufort
Hwy. 70 & Camp Glen
Hwy. 70 & Gallants Channel Bridge
Hwy. 70 & 23rd St. Atlantic Beach Bridge
Morehead Ave. & Ft. Macon State Park
Morehead Ave. & Ft. Macon Blvd. West
Harkers Island Bridge
Hwy. 58 at Bogue
Hwy. 58 at Emerald Isle Bridge
Hwy. 24 at Cape Carteret
no data

Crystal Coast Location & TtransportationFreight & Delivery Services

Carteret County is a very competitive trucking market well served by major interstate freight lines offering overnight delivery to many major cities. Package delivery services such as UPS, FedEx and DHL serve commercial and local airports and provide worldwide shipping.


Crystal Coast Location & Transportation

The Port of Morehead City, one of the deepest ports on the US East Coast, is located just south of the Outer Banks. The port, with a 45′ channel depth, is four miles from open sea. It is located within 700 miles of more than 70% of the industrial base in the USA.

Access from the port to major east coast markets and Interstates 95/40 is available via U.S. Highways 70 and 17 as well as rail service from Norfolk Southern. Barge services are also available.

The port handles both break bulk, roll-on/roll-off and heavy lift cargo and is the second largest volume port in the country for imported natural rubber used in the tire manufacturing industry. The port is also a leading exporter of phosphate, sulfur, metal products, rubber, wood chips, aircraft parts and grain. It features a dry-bulk facility with a 225 thousand-ton capacity warehouse. Additional open storage is available.

The Port of Morehead City continues to improve its facilities to meet customer needs. A 177 thousand sq. ft. warehouse with a 29 ft. ceiling height is available to house high value commodities such as paper, steel, and lumber. The warehouse provides access to ocean berths.

Radio Island, a 150 acre site suitable for port industrial development, is located across the Newport River from the Port of Morehead City. This site features municipal water and sewer. Any customer (business or individual) of the North Carolina Ports at Morehead City, who is subject to North Carolina income tax, can take advantage of a unique “port user” tax credit.

Click here to download a sheet on the Port of Morehead City and for additional information on North Carolina Ports.

Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ)

Crystal Coast Location & TransportationA Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ), Zone 67, is located at the Port of Morehead City. Additional FTZ’s are located at the Port of Wilmington and the Global TransPark.

The region has two active Subzones, NACCO Materials Handling Group (subzone 214B) and Consolidated Diesel (subzone 214A), enabling companies doing international business to avoid formal customs entry and many customs duties, government taxes and cargo examination, thereby expediting processes and adding to the company’s bottom line.


Crystal Coast Location & Transportation


The North Carolina Railroad Company (NCRR) owns and manages the 317-mile rail corridor running from the Port of Morehead City to Charlotte. NCRR has a Master Agreement with Norfolk Southern, who operates the freight trains. Norfolk Southern has a Class One Railroad system that serves the Port of Morehead City and surrounding areas. Every day, approximately 65 Norfolk Southern freight trains use North Carolina Railroad track to ship commodities across the state.

Click for additional information on the North Carolina Railroad or for Norfolk Southern .


Crystal Coast Location & TransportationAmtrak runs three passenger trains daily to stations in Rocky Mount and Wilson. Amtrak Thruway Motor Coach offers an eastern North Carolina bus service from Morehead City to the train station in Wilson. The service includes stops in Greenville, New Bern, Havelock, Kinston, Goldsboro, Jacksonville and Wilmington.

Click here for additional information on the NCODOT Rail Division.

Commercial Air Service

Coastal Carolina Regional Airport (ECWCrystal Coast Location & Transportation), located just off US 70 south of New Bern, is within a 30-45 minute drive of most locations in Carteret County. The airport provides US Airways and Delta regional jet service to east coast hubs in Charlotte and Atlanta with connections to over 300 destinations worldwide.

Commercial air service is also available in Jacksonville and Greenville. Albert J. Ellis Airport (OAJ), located in Onslow County, is 13 miles northwest of the City of Jacksonville and provides five daily US Air Express flights to Charlotte. Pitt County-Greenville (PGV) is located 10 miles northwest of Greenville and provides service to Charlotte.

Additionally, the Kinston Regional Jetport’s 11,500 foot Category II ILS runway (the longest commercial runway between Washington DC and Atlanta) is the centerpiece of the 5,000 acre Global TransPark (GTP) business park. Two major airports, Raleigh-Durham and Wilmington-New Hanover County, provide international connections and are within easy driving distance.

Local Air Service

Crystal Coast Location & TransportationMichael J. Smith Airport, a publicly owned corporate and general aviation facility located in the Town of Beaufort, has served the regional transportation needs of the Crystal Coast and Southern Outer Banks since June 1949.

The airport recently completed a capital improvement project to extend the primary runway to 5,003 feet, allowing the facility to accommodate most large corporate aircraft in use today. The primary runway is (08/26) 5,003′ x 100′ with a dual wheel load capacity of 60,000 lbs. and FAA approved lighting. Additionally, both runways 8/26 and 3/21 have approved PAPI systems. All runways have GPS approaches.. The secondary runways are (03/21) 4,191′ x 147′ and (14/32) 4001′ x 100′ with a single wheel load capacity of 12,500 lbs.

Airport services include refueling for Jet A-1 and 100LL, repair services, 24-hour security, pilot lounge and conference room. Additional services include air-freight, cargo handling, charter, aircraft rental, flight instruction and auto rental. Corporate and private aircraft hangars and tie downs are available, as well as prime ground for new hangar construction along the main taxiway.
The Michael J. Smith Airport has several acres of property available for air-related business development including light manufacturing/assembly, warehousing, distribution and fulfillment. The Airport Authority is willing to work with any aviation related business interested in locating on airport property.

The airport is named after Captain Michael J. Smith, USN, Astronaut and Commander of the Space Shuttle Challenger. Captain Smith was a native of Beaufort, NC.

Click here for additional information or contact Russell Overman, Airport Manager at (252) 723-1928.

Public Transportation

Crystal Coast Location & TransportationThe Carteret County Area Transportation System (CCATS), authorized by the Carteret County Board of Commissioners, provides accessible public transportation services for residents and guests of Carteret County. CCATS services include transportation to and from both work and Carteret Community College, non-emergency medical transportation with limited out-of-county service, and transportation to beaches, shopping and other places of interest.

CCATS also offers a fixed route service operating via Bridges St. traveling between Wal-Mart and the Carteret County Courthouse in Beaufort. It departs from Wal-Mart in Morehead City 15 minutes every hour beginning at 7:15 am, and then departs from the Courthouse in Beaufort 45 minutes past hour with the last departure at 5:45 pm. Cost is $2.00 per boarding.

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