State pays Polk $36,100 for rights of way

Published 9:10 pm Monday, November 25, 2019

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Land near hospital needed for Highway 108 expansion

COLUMBUS—The North Carolina Department of Transportation is working on getting rights of way in order to widen Highway 108 and replace the bridge over Interstate 26. 

The Polk County Board of Commissioners met last week and heard from Jacob Day with the NCDOT. The state is paying the county $36,100 for rights of way near the hospital in order to do the work needed for Project I-4729B from the Polk County Library and Isothermal Community College to Walker Street in downtown Columbus. 

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Day said there is a section the state needs for a right of way and an easement that is owned by the county near St. Luke’s Hospital. One parcel is 0.217 acres and several other smaller parcels. Day said some of the work is temporary so the land would revert back to county land once construction is complete. He said the hospital currently leases the property from the county so the state has been in contact with the hospital. The sign in front of the hospital will be impacted. Day said the sign will need to be moved and the state will handle that for the hospital. 

Commissioner chair Tommy Melton asked if the state will replace the hospital’s sign. 

“We will get two bids,” Day said. “We will take the lower of those bids and the state will pay for them to move (the sign) back.” 

Commissioners unanimously approved accepting the $36,100 for the rights of way. 

The project was recently announced to be suspended, with work not beginning until 2024. The project was originally slated for 2021 and is expected to take two years of construction. 

Project I-4729B is proposed to widen Highway 108 from the library to Walker Street in downtown Columbus and includes a new bridge and to make the roundabouts two lanes. 

The state announced the project last spring.  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 as of last year was estimated to cost $8.7 million, including $1 million in rights of way and $7.7 million in construction.