Highway 108 plan unnecessary, unwanted

Published 8:00 am Saturday, May 5, 2018

When my wife and I moved to Tryon over 16 years ago, I was enthralled by the drive into Tryon through Lynn by towering old trees, bamboo jungles and an easy wending road through park-like woodlands.

Over these past 16 years, I have driven Highway 108 from Tryon to Columbus and back almost daily, and its charm and rural, small-town beauty never cease to give me a sense of ease and place.

But now, all that is unnecessarily threatened, and we the people have said any change is unwanted.

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Except during special events, I have never found that route to be congested, except as one approaches the roundabouts in Columbus at the end of the school day. I have encountered bicyclists from time to time, but without incident.

From my point of view, there is no demonstrated need for widening and straightening the road. The NCDOT alleges that “state transportation officials have collaborated with officials from Polk County and the towns of Tryon and Columbus, as well as the Isothermal Rural Planning Organization…”

That begs several questions:

• Who are these officials, and where is the documentation of their meetings?

• Who is the driving force behind this move to change the road, and why?

• If there is a problem for bicyclists, cannot a bicycle lane be added to one side of the existing road at far less expense and time?

• If the change is posited on speculation that the road will not be able to handle the traffic load in 2040, why not wait until that is a proven problem before spending millions of dollars, disrupting the lives and business of people along the route, devastating the environment and ambiance of our community, and causing months of inconvenience to we who regularly travel Highway 108?

We, the citizens who use this corridor, deserve and demand answers to these questions from our local public officials.

Michael Doty,