State proposing to widen Highway 9

Published 10:53 pm Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Turn lanes proposed at Polk Central Elementary School 


MILL SPRING—A state road-widening project in Mill Spring has some residents questioning the need and others pleased that turn lanes will be added at the school.  

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The North Carolina Department of Transportation is proposing to widen an approximate 3-mile section of Highway 9 from the Highway 108 crossroad in Mill Spring to Polk Central Elementary School.  

The NCDOT held an informational drop-in meeting for residents Tuesday at Polk Central to gather information on the project and to ask questions.  

The state is proposing a $3.3 million project for lane and shoulder improvements along Highway 9 from Highway 108 to U.S. 74. The project is referred to as R-5840 and is on the State Transportation Improvement Project list.  

Construction is scheduled for fiscal years 2022 and 2023 and includes turn lanes, both right and left at the elementary school, but not the replacement of the bridge. NCDOT officials said a separate project will replace the bridge.  

The proposed project includes increasing the existing lane width and adding wider shoulders to the existing two-lane roadway. The widening will include increasing the current 10 ft lanes to 12 feet and adding six foot wide paved shoulders.  

NCDOT officials said the project will impact 50 properties, with some saying the project is not necessary.  

Resident Marsha Greene, who attended the meeting, said the road has been like it is for years with no problems. She said the problem is with drivers, not the roads.  

But NCDOT spokesman David Uchiyama said that the section of road is not even close to current standards, saying the lanes are too small.  

“NC 9 is classified as a major collector in the North Carolina Functional Classication System,” NCDOT officials said. “This regional thoroughfare is used by South Carolina tourists, mainly motorcyclists whose speeding have caused safety issues along this corridor.”  

The 2017 estimated annual average daily traffic for the approximate three-mile section of road was 3,000 vehicles, according to NCDOT figures. There are 10 school buses that travel the road daily, with 38 school bus trips daily and a variety of agricultural and commercial land uses, according to NCDOT figures.  

The NCDOT also said between 2012 and 2017, there were a total of 36 vehicle accidents along the stretch, including 20 with property damage only, 15 with injury and one fatal crash.  

Residents have until May 7 to send in comments about the project. 

Comments can be sent to Project Manager Larissa Via at 919-803-8215, or 4700 Homewood Court, Suite 310, Raleigh, NC 27609 to submit comments or for additional information.