RALEIGH – More than a dozen Watauga-based road projects were part of the 1,700-plus included in the N.C. Department of Transportation’s 2020-2029 State Transportation Improvement Plan, which was approved Sept. 5 by the N.C. Board of Transportation.
The NCDOT’s STIP, a 10-year transportation plan, is updated every two years after a review process and given priority based on when the project is slated to start.
“Projects scheduled in the first six years of the plan (2020-2025) are considered committed and are not re-evaluated when a new plan is developed,” the NCDOT’s Sept. 5 statement said. “Projects in the final four years of each plan (2026-2029) are prioritized again based on technical data, as well as input from local officials and residents.”
According to the NCDOT, the projects were prioritized based on technical data as well as input from local officials and residents. Out of the final list, the plan also includes 385 changes in highway projects from the initial draft STIP that was released in January.
The N.C. 105 widening from N.C. 105 Bypass just outside of Boone to Foscoe has road construction starting in 2023. Work to replace the Watauga River bridge will start in spring 2020, as previously stated by NCDOT Engineer Ramie Shaw.
The $224 million widening of U.S. 221 from Deep Gap to Jefferson, a 16.1-mile project that started in 2016, has construction costs built in through 2024, in line with the original estimated completion year.
Upgrades to Deerfield Road from the intersection of State Farm Road to Wilson Ridge Road will start with right-of-way and utility work in 2020 and construction slated for 2022-2024. The project is estimated to cost $3.8 million.
The already set-in-stone Bamboo Road and Wilson Ridge Road widening project is set for right-of-way action in 2020 and construction from 2021-2023. Included in the $20.524 million project will be a multi-modal pathway along the Bamboo Road section of the project, according to NCDOT Engineer Mike Pettyjohn.
The proposed Daniel Boone Parkway, a long-proposed project that would be a southern bypass for U.S. 421, is slated for right-of-way and utility work in 2028 and 2029, with construction for the estimated $291.29 million project currently unfunded.
Potentially widening U.S. 421 from the Tennessee border to the U.S. 321 junction in Vilas is penciled in for right-of-way and utility work in 2029.
Right-of-way and utility work to widen the 3.5-mile stretch of U.S. 321/421 from the N.C. 105 Bypass to the U.S. 321/421 junction in Vilas is set for 2024 and 2025, with construction currently planned for 2026-2029.
A roundabout at the Poplar Grove Connector on West King Street will have right-of-way and utility work done in 2025 and construction is currently slated for 2026.
Funds to realign the offset intersection at Deerfield Road and Meadowview Road, an estimated $8.1 million project, currently has right-of-way and utility funds set for 2028 and 2029, with construction currently unfunded.
A $1.255 million improvement project at the West King Street and College Street intersection included in the STIP is already underway. The contract for the project has completion by May 31, 2020.
Replacing the Hunting Hills Lane bridge over the South Fork New River in Boone, a $1.744 million project, is slated for right-of-way work in 2020 and construction in 2021.
A new sidewalk in Blowing Rock from Main Street to Bass Lake is under construction and administered by the town of Blowing Rock. The project is part of a federal grant project and right-of-way work has been ongoing.
The $2.2 million construction of section one of the Middle Fork Greenway from Blowing Rock to the Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge is slated for 2020.
Multiple Coach America intercity bus programs from Boone to both Greensboro and Charlotte are funded in the STIP through 2023. Funding for AppalCART, the Boone-based free bus system, is also included in the STIP.
Also included were various programs to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, ecosystem enhancement projects and safety improvements across an eight-county area that weren’t specifically named.
The N.C. 105 “Superstreet” project, which the town of Boone rejected in a 3-2 vote in May, was officially deleted from the STIP list.