Public meeting to take place Thursday for future Polk County road projects

Published 8:00 am Thursday, June 28, 2018

Four plans with local impact included in workshop

RUTHERFORDTON — Polk County residents will have an opportunity on Thursday to attend a workshop on future road projects.

Thursday’s public workshop will be held from 4-6 p.m. at Isothermal Planning and Development Commission, located at 111 W. Court St., Rutherfordton. The workshop is a drop-in format and will include information on the projects, as well as an opportunity for the public to provide written comments and ask questions.

Public comment is also being taken until July 9 for the future draft projects.

There are four projects that could impact Polk County, including one on U.S. 74 from Interstate 26 to the west terminus of the future Shelby bypass; one on Highway 9 from Highway 108 to the U.S. 64/U.S. 74A (Lake Lure); one on Highway 9 from U.S. 74 to the South Carolina state line; and one on Highway 108 from County Line Road to U.S. 74.

The U.S. 74 project is proposed to upgrade the freeway to interstate standards and is estimated at $77.6 million; the Highway 9 project from Highway 108 to Lake Lure is proposed to modernize the roadway and is estimated at $40.1 million; the Highway 9 project from U.S. 74 to the South Carolina state line is proposed to construct pave shoulders, turn lanes at various locations, rumble strips and a guardrail, and is estimated at $45.3 million; and the Highway 108 project from County Line Road to U.S. 74 is proposed to improve safety by adding wide paved shoulders and is estimated to cost $54.2 million.

Isothermal Planning and Development Commission Senior Planner/Rural Planning Organization Director Karyl Fuller said on Wednesday the projects are in the planning stages. Fuller explained that the North Carolina Department of Transportation does a quantitative spot score on proposed projects and the RPO put points on them, and part of those points include local input.

“So what we are deciding right now is where we are putting local input points,” Fuller said. “This isn’t the final decision. If the projects score high enough, they will be put on the state’s Transportation Improvement Plan.”

Fuller said at this point, nothing has been decided on the projects. Officials are planning for some of the projects out of the three counties to make the state’s 2020-2019 state list. The projects for Thursday’s meeting include proposals for Polk, McDowell and Rutherford counties.

In July, the RPO will make a final call for regional points and in October, will make a final call for division points, Fuller said.

Thursday’s meeting is for the Draft List of Projects at the Regional and Division tier to receive local input points for the proposed projects in the three counties.

Public comment on the projects began on June 25 and will end on July 9.

Draft lists, maps and local input points will be posted on the RPO’s website at isothermalrpo.org.spot-process/p-5publiccomment.

Written comments can be sent by mail to Karyl Fuller, P.O. Box 841, Rutherfordton, NC 28139, or by email to Kfuller@regionc.org.