DOT budgets $674k for secondary roads this year

Published 6:00 pm Friday, September 23, 2011

Thermal View, Wilderness, Collinsville top list

The N.C. Department of Transportation (DOT) is slated to spend $674,187 this year to improve Polk County’s secondary roads.

This year’s project list includes paving Thermal View Drive (0.85 miles) in Lynn and Wilderness Drive (0.52 miles) near Tryon. The state also plans to widen, drain and pave from Collinsville Road to N.C. 9 (2.6 miles).

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Other planned work includes county-wide secondary road work, such as spot stabilization, safety improvements, surveying and signage.

DOT officials met with the Polk County Board of Commissioners and the public on Thursday, Sept. 15 to review the project list.

DOT district engineer Steve Cannon said some of last year’s projects are still ongoing, including Landrum Road. Improvements to Collinsville Road have not yet started and will be done at the same time as the N.C. 9 work this year. Work on Peniel Road should also be completed this fall, Cannon said.

There was $144,475 left in last year’s $716,095 budget for Polk County secondary road improvements. The state’s allotment for Polk County this year is $529,712, which combined with last year’s leftover, gives a budget for this year of $674,187. The state projects $187 will be left over this year to be combined with next year’s state allotment.

Polk County Commissioner Renée McDermott said a couple of residents requested her to ask DOT officials if a small portion of River Road near the bridge could be paved. McDermott said the section between Morgan Chapel Bridge and Golden Road is heavily traveled.

McDermott’s request spurred a couple of comments against ever paving any section of River Road.

Ned Frybarger said he hopes none of River Road ever gets paved.

“That’s one of the spots we enjoy for [horseback] rides,” said Frybarger. “When Morgan Chapel Road was paved it greatly increased traffic. I would hope you would leave the section between the bridge and Golden Road as is.”

Commissioner Ted Owens also asked about whether the DOT could place speed control signs near churches.

“We have a couple of churches on secondary roads that would love to have signs for speed control,” said Owens.

DOT Division Engineer Joel Setzer said that can be done on a case-by-case basis. He said some may not qualify for a speed reduction but could qualify for a sign that may help. In order to get a speed reduction the road is first evaluated by a traffic engineer, including crash data, according to Setzer.

He encouraged commissioners and the public to send any requests regarding state-owned roads to any DOT official via email.

DOT officials said the money reviewed last week is strictly for secondary roads. Highways and interstates such as improvements to I-26 and US 74 are funded differently and placed on the state’s Traffic Improvement Program (TIP) list.

Anticipated projects on the state’s future secondary road program include paving Dalton Road (1.25 miles) in fiscal year 2013 and paving Pea Ridge Road (3.6 miles) in fiscal year 2014.