Columbus sells easement for road widening

Published 10:32 pm Sunday, August 18, 2019

Town grants easement at sewer lift station to NCDOT

COLUMBUS—The Town of Columbus granted an easement to the North Carolina Department of Transportation to do work on Highway 108. 

Columbus Town Council met Thursday night and heard from town manager Tim Barth. 

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Barth said NCDOT is working on right-of-way acquisition for the road and sidewalk project that will begin in about a year to 18 months. 

“One of the places where they need some extra room to work is where our sewer lift station is right next to Mountain View BBQ,” Barth said. “NCDOT needs approximately 0.1 acres for room to work while the road and sidewalk is being worked on in that spot.” 

The state will pay the town $1,000 for the easement. Barth said after the project the easement will go away. He also said there will be no impact on the operation of the lift station as a result of the easement. 

The project is to widen Highway 108 and will include a sidewalk on the easement side. 

Barth explained to council exactly where the easement will be. He said if you pull into Mountain View BBQ and look down the hill to the right where the two stakes are, that is the location the state needs. 

Councilman Mark Phillips asked if this is the project that was protested with the roundabouts. An earlier proposed project involved widening Highway 108 from Columbus to Tryon. That project was dismissed after many residents opposed it, as well as the county and towns. The current project involves widening to St. Luke’s Hospital and also includes a new bridge to make the roundabouts two lanes. 

Phillips asked if the easement will have any negative impact on Mountain View. Barth said, no, the state will be doing the work from the top. He said the state is expanding the road on the other side, so the road will shift over just a little bit so they can fit a 5-foot sidewalk. Barth said the state will build up the bank to put the sidewalk in. 

Columbus Mayor Eric McIntyre said the state may should lower the speed limit to the library to 25 mph like the rest of the town if a sidewalk is installed. 

The state announced the project last spring, which will improve Highway 108 between the hospital and Walker Street. A new bridge will be built to create a new, 4-lane bridge over Interstate 26, making the roundabouts two lanes. 

As of last year, sidewalks will also be included on the new bridge.  

The project will widen Highway 108 to three lanes, including two lanes and a turn lane. 

The project is named I-4729B and as of last year was estimated to cost $8.7 million, including $1 million in rights of way and $7.7 million in construction. 

Construction is expected to begin in January 2021. Surveying has already begun. Construction of the project is anticipated to take two years.