Columbus sends state road improvement ideas for TIP list

Published 11:14 am Monday, May 2, 2011

Columbus Town Council is sending road improvement ideas to the N.C. Department of Transportation (DOT), with a pedestrian plan from Walker Street to Beechwood Drive topping the list. Columbus Town Council agreed Thursday, April 21 to send the list of ideas to be included on the state’s Traffic Improvement Program (TIP) list. The town met with Josh King of the Isothermal Planning and Development Commission (IPDC) in March. King urged council to present ideas to be included on the state’s list. Council decided to send its pedestrian plan, which includes sidewalks and curb and gutter improvements along Hwy. 108 from Walker Street to Beechwood Drive along the northern side of the street. The suggestion includes a pedestrian-friendly design along the roundabouts and over the I-26 bridge. The town’s list of suggestions also includes improvements at the interchanges of I-26 and U.S. 74 and a better drainage solution at Beechwood Drive and Hwy. 108, where large puddles form during rainstorms. A new idea from Columbus Town Manager Jonathan Kanipe to be included with the town’s suggestions is improvements along Mills Street/Hwy. 108 through downtown. Improvements would include a 5-to-8-foot brick-paved area that would be suitable for flag poles and plantings. Kanipe said he added the idea based on what he saw done in his hometown in Kentucky that worked nicely. Kanipe mentioned that Columbus’ main road through downtown is wide, so the brick-paved area could add to the aesthetic appeal and wouldn’t take away from parking. Council also decided to add to the list sidewalks to the Polk County Library and Isothermal Community College campus on Hwy. 108, as well as curb and guttering along Hwy. 108. Kanipe said he will give the town’s suggestions to King, who will include Columbus’ list with those from other areas in the region to be sent to the DOT. The state’s TIP list includes projects for the next 20 to 30 years. Polk County has several DOT projects on the current TIP list. Some have been funded and some have not yet been funded. Revisions and improvements to N.C. 108 at the interchange with I-26 and U.S. 74 (exit 36) are currently on the TIP list as “unfunded.” Other Polk County TIP list projects include replacing two brides (bridges 2 and 4) over the Pacolet River. The state is currently seeking rights of way for those projects. Several guardrail improvement and replacement projects, plus some paving improvements are among other projects that still remain on the TIP list. The state’s TIP list can be found at: Polk County is part of the DOT Division 14, which includes the counties of Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Polk, Swain and Transylvania.

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