And now for the rest of the story

Published 8:00 am Thursday, May 24, 2018

The North Carolina Department of Transportation has finally finished their trilogy on what they have planned for Polk County road projects.

Stage one proposed putting a four-lane highway between Columbus and Tryon. This plan was met with overwhelming citizen backlash, and we were told the plan “as designed” was scraped.

Then came stage two, which proposed changing stage one to a three-lane plan with some drastic changes in an attempt to circumnavigate the objections to stage one. This plan was also met with overwhelming citizen objection and “reserved” local government objections. This proposal is yet to be resolved.

But wait, there’s more.

Without having resolved the stage two proposal, the DOT now comes out with a stage three, which proposes replacing the roundabouts and bridge over Interstate 26. On the surface, this is not a bad proposal, but when you look at the road extension toward Tryon they are proposing, with a three-lane road to St. Luke’s Hospital, the cat is out of the bag. 

This road extension solves the conundrum associated with previous proposals — the DOT has been playing us, the citizens, who will be directly affected by their plans, and our local government representatives, who have been elected to act for us in our best interests.

It’s my contention that the DOT is hellbent on expanding the road between Columbus and Tryon. They put out a stage one plan as a feeler on citizen sentiment. Then they walked that plan back to stage two in an attempt to soften the blow on how it would affect the community.

Now, they are using part of the stage three plan to back door the expansion of Highway 108.

I don’t know how you feel about these tactics, but I’m appalled by it. One could say it’s almost like we are being “waterboarded.”

Just to give the DOT a fair chance on how we the people feel about their proposal, I would like to have our local government put this issue up for vote in the next election.

What say you, our elected leaders?

Karl Kachadoorian, Tryon