By Nathan Ham
Town council members are still weighing the pros and cons to the potential Highway 105 Superstreet design provided by the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
The town council and representatives from the NCDOT will be available on Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. to potentially answer questions from local citizens that are concerned about what the new project could do to the Highway 105 corridor.
One councilmember, in particular, has been out knocking on doors and trying to find out what Boone citizens and business owners on Highway 105 know about the project and what they would like to see happen.
Loretta Clawson visited 34 different businesses on Highway 105 this week and is hoping to reach a few more this weekend and Monday before the Tuesday morning meeting.
“Some businesses were not even aware of the meeting and I still haven’t decided how I’m going to vote. I think maybe a couple of councilmembers have but I have not,” Clawson said. “It was interesting. I think maybe there might have been one or two people that said to leave it the way it is. Most of the people I talked to said something really needed to be done. A lot of them felt like we can take a less drastic measure.”
Clawson said some of the suggestions she heard included additional stoplights and decreasing speed limits on the road.
“Businesses would like to see something less drastic. One of the businesses I talked to said he sees a lot of accidents. We’ve got a lot of college students coming in and out on that street, I think it is a dangerous road,” Clawson said. “Because of the traffic, I think it is becoming increasingly impossible to turn left.”
The greatest concern since day one of the release of the initial draft for this Highway 105 Superstreet project has been the impact on business traffic and revenue.
“What bothers me and the businesses the most is what will they lose? One business told me that they would probably have to shut down if this went through. A few of them were concerned about the amount of time that this was going to take and how much business they were going to lose during that time of construction. They really can’t afford to lose two years and it will probably end up being more than two years,” says Clawson.
Clawson is hoping that the NCDOT will provide enlarged drawings of the most recent draft that has been discussed between town officials and NCDOT representatives.
“I told people to come and see how much you will be affected because a lot of people didn’t have a clue. They knew that there was one drawing that nobody liked and then that the next drawing that came back was much better and wasn’t nearly as bad as the first one was but I think a lot of people don’t realize how much they will be affected,” she said.
According to Clawson, two councilmembers have already made up their mind with one that will vote to support the road project and another that will vote against the road project.
As of now, there is no timeline for when the Boone Town Council will vote on the Highway 105 Superstreet Project and it is unclear whether the NCDOT has a timeline for when the town has to decide before the money for the project is used for another highway project in the state.