By Nathan Ham
The North Carolina Department of Transportation recently shared the first public draft of potential changes to Highway 105 from the intersection of Blowing Rock Road to just past the Highway 105 bypass intersection.
The “Superstreet” project is designed to help traffic flow easier and limit the number of left turns that drivers make across traffic lanes.
One of the most notable changes is that drivers will no longer be able to turn left off of the 105 bypass. There will still be a stoplight on Highway 105 for drivers heading north and south, however drivers wanting to turn left off of the bypass will have to instead turn right and make a U-turn at the U-turn “bulb outs” that are being constructed as part of the project.
Drivers will also notice two new additional signal lights, first at Poplar Grove Road South and at Homespun Hills Road.
The current draft also does not include a turn signal at the old Watauga High School entrance that is now parking for Appalachian State University. Instead, drivers wanting to go left will have to first turn right and make a U-turn at the designated U-turn bulb outs.
The middle turning lane that exists on Highway 105 will become a median in this first proposed Superstreet plan.
Additional lanes will be added as part of the proposal, including two turning lanes off of Poplar Grove Road to turn right and three turning lanes off of the Highway 105 bypass. Two of those lanes will be used to turn into the U-turn bulb outs. Additional lanes to accommodate the U-turn lanes will also be added on Highway 105.
The preliminary plans indicate that eight of the U-turn bulb outs will be constructed.
According to Ramie Shaw, the NCDOT Division 11 Project Manager, the right-of-way acquisition for this project is scheduled to begin in the Summer of 2019 with construction beginning in the Summer of 2021.
There will be a public meeting to discuss this project that is tentatively scheduled for October 9 at 4 p.m. at the Watauga Campus of Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute.
The preliminary plans can be viewed below.