BOONE – A Boone Town Council meeting that could determine whether the $10.52 million N.C. 105 superstreet project goes ahead or not is set for Tuesday, April 23, at 10 a.m. at the Boone Town Council Chambers.
“The Boone Town Council would like to invite all interested individuals and businesses to a special called meeting with the N.C. Department of Transportation to discuss the N.C. 105 improvement projects,” the Boone notice on April 10 stated.
Staff from the NCDOT will be on hand to share maps of how multiple N.C. 105 projects will be linked together, answer questions and collect further input involving this proposed project.
“The town of Boone appreciates the NCDOT’s willingness to attend an additional meeting and to provide more information to the community as the town council is faced with making decisions concerning this very important corridor within our town limits,” Boone Town Manager John Ward said in the April 10 statement. “Safety, efficient transportation, bike lanes, sidewalks, lighting, safe crosswalks, existing business impacts and future business development are all factors that must be considered during this process.”
“The Boone Town Council will be making a recommendation in the near future to NCDOT concerning this project and it is important that the council has as much information as possible from NCDOT,” Ward explained.
The meeting comes after a NCDOT presentation on March 14 to Boone and Watauga County officials. At the meeting, NCDOT officials explained that some of the recommendations received during the late 2018 public comment period regarding limiting left turns onto the highway, U-turn bulb-outs, enhanced bike lanes and enhanced sidewalks were incorporated. However, the planned median, which business owners along N.C. 105 have said could negatively affect them, would have to remain, the NCDOT officials said.
At the meeting, NCDOT Board of Transportation members and Blowing Rock resident Cullie Tarleton said if the votes were against the project, it would move to the back of the line. NCDOT Engineer Mike Pettyjohn said at the meeting that the project, scheduled to start construction in 2021, is already behind as right-of-way acquisition and full plans need to be developed beforehand.
The Watauga County Commissioners approved the new design at its March 19 meeting. On March 21, Boone Town Council officials, local residents and business owners said that while they appreciate the changes, they wanted more information from the NCDOT, including how the entire project will look with the recent changes.
The original N.C. 105 superstreet plan was first introduced by NCDOT in September 2018 to an overall negative reaction. Boone, Watauga County, the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce and dozens of business owners along N.C. 105 voiced opposition to the plan.