Local Businesses and Elected Officials Want NCDOT to Consider Other Ideas For Improving Safety and Traffic Flow on N.C. Highway 105

Published Friday, October 19, 2018 at 4:28 pm

By Nathan Ham

The concerned voices of business owners, Boone Town Council members and Watauga County Commissioners have been heard this week.

Area businesses, with the help of the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce, put together a letter that they will be sending to the North Carolina Department of Transportation as part of the public comment period in regards to the Highway 105 Superstreet Plan that was rolled out by the NCDOT at the end of September.

“The NC 105 corridor serves a vast array of business and community interests. While an important local asset, this thoroughfare’s impact stretches beyond the bounds of Boone and Watauga County, standing as a primary connection vessel for many businesses, residential, and tourism interests across all High Country communities,” the letter states. “NC 105 is a unique economic corridor, housing a high percentage of the area’s hotel inventory, iconic restaurants, and a culture of businesses that provides a diverse mix of offerings not found in other areas of our local community. As this project is addressed, a question must be asked of all parties involved: Is the goal of NC 105 to serve as a designed highway or a business corridor?”

The letter goes on to state that the current superstreet proposal does not appear to benefit business interests along the highway and other ways of improving traffic on the road should be explored.

“Based on the experience of business owners and operators, many of whom have worked and lived in this corridor for over four decades, the superstreet concept adopted in this plan will only contribute to congestion, make travel more difficult, and limit easy access to business and residential areas within this footprint,” the letter states. “We urge officials to listen to the comments submitted by citizens and visitors in Watauga County and consider the appropriate recommendations listed in this document, and others like it that you have received. It is critical to take this feedback, combine the projects into one scope, and reconvene the local community for more involved and fully encompassing discussion. While we may not be a group of traffic engineers, we can speak with experience regarding the behavior of traffic on this thoroughfare. Should the answer be that we all want to see NC 105 serve as the delivery vehicle to a thriving economic district, then we urge NCDOT leadership to engage our community in an appropriate time frame, so we can provide the input needed for this important project.”

At the Boone Town Council meeting on Thursday, October 18, the council unanimously approved a resolution that will be sent to the NCDOT also asking them to take into consideration other ways to improve Highway 105 without having to use the current superstreet plan.

“The Town Council for the Town of Boone requests that the N.C.D.O.T. provide design options other than the Super Street concept which we as a Town Council unequivocally oppose. These alternate designs should preserve left hand turns from the center lane in both directions and utilize synchronized signals that are engineered to control speed without constantly stopping motorists, and they should not employ u-turns and “bulb-outs,” allowing Highway 105 to continue to be a business, resident and visitor friendly corridor, while also improving the overall safety of the road, incorporating the safety of vehicle travelers, pedestrians and cyclists,” the resolution stated.

Watauga County Commissioners and county manager Deron Geouque have all expressed similar disagreements with the current superstreet proposal.

If anyone is interested in signing the letter that has been drafted in support of the local businesses that could be adversely affected by the new highway proposal, the letter is available to sign from 8 a.m. October 19 through noon on October 23 during normal business hours at Peabody’s Wine & Beer Merchants, Baymont Inn and the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce.

Public comments on the road project will be accepted through October 24.

Comments through mail and email can be sent to the following:

Ramie Shaw

Division 11 Project Manager

PO Box. 250

North Wilkesboro, NC 28659

rashaw@ncdot.gov

Aileen Mayhew, PE

Consultant Project Manager

7621 Purfoy Rd, Suite 115

Fuquay-Varina, NC 27526

aileen.mayhew@mottmac.com

A copy of the letter provided by the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce is below.

Highway 105 letter final copy

 

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