Local residents ignored
Published 11:29 am Monday, November 21, 2022
I just returned from the Foothills Rural Planning Organization attending the meeting of the Transportation Advisory Committee to discuss the DOT widening project for Highway 9. This was not an instance of representational government but rather a demonstration of an unelected bureaucracy in Raleigh having its way over the objections of both the Polk County Commissioners as well as Polk County residents as demonstrated by our petition along with many of us at the meeting. They actually stated that they had never had such a turnout at one of their meetings prior to this.
The spokesperson for Save Highway 9 was allotted 10 minutes to speak. She was followed by the DOT engineer who presented her colorful PowerPoint presentation for 30 minutes. She spoke of issues that had nothing to do with the Highway 9 project and addressed none of our concerns. Our County Commissioner on the Committee read the No Build letter from our commissioners so that it would be part of the record. There was no response from the Committee.
Our bid to stop the project lost by one vote. Polk County residents will be losing homes and property for this ridiculous project. Our friends and neighbors. As was presented, safety concerns could have easily been resolved by a turn lane at Polk Central Elementary along with a decrease in the speed limit to 45 mph. There is no other area of traffic congestion (and this only occurs twice a day on school days) and, as was presented, this road does not have any problems with accidents. Data showed that the road has a lower-than-expected accident rate. This decision had nothing to do with actual safety improvement.
And get ready people. As an interesting aside, the DOT engineer mentioned as justification for this road project the kayaking competition on the Green River along with the traffic to Lake Lure. This told us plainly that this road widening will not stop at Hwy 108. The DOT plans to widen our beautiful, rural Hwy. 9 all the way to Lake Lure.
And local residents be damned.
Stuart R. Goldstein