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Watauga Commissioners Approve Highway 105 Superstreet Project Changes

By Nathan Ham

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Watauga County Commissioners, the commissioners in attendance unanimously approved a resolution to support the most recent changes of the Highway 105 Superstreet project that were presented on Thursday by the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

Chairman John Welch, Billy Kennedy, Charlie Wallin and Perry Yates voted to support the project changes. Commissioner Larry Turnbow did not attend the meeting due to feeling a bit under the weather according to Welch.

The commissioners that spoke about the road project seemed to be in agreement that something needed to be done to improve the traffic flow and safety of Highway 105.

“At the hearing, they (NCDOT) did mention that time is of the essence and we’ve already lost six months with the redesign on this and if we don’t support it, that project will be all the way down at the bottom of the list again, which I’m not going to see it in my lifetime,” said Kennedy.

Welch noted that the Boone Town Council was also holding public comment sessions on Tuesday and Thursday and they had been more “hands on” with the project and with business owners that might have been impacted negatively.

“I think the major issues that we had were discussed and were addressed, coming off of the (105) bypass, losing Casa Rustica restaurant and the couple of options coming off of Highland (Road),” said Welch.

Commissioner Yates, who is the owner of New River Building Supply on Highway 105, believed that the redesign is “a lot more business friendly” and was happy that no businesses along the road would be lost as part of the redesign.

“If we don’t approve this, then the money is going to go somewhere else. We need a little bit more DOT money in Watauga County the way I look at it,” said Yates.

The Boone Town Council will meet again on Thursday and will be accepting more public comments at that time. The Highway 105 Superstreet Project is currently listed as an agenda item up for discussion on Thursday as well.