County Road Plan Hits Snag
AREA A PASSES, ROAD PLAN HITS SNAGS
The Small Area A Plan sailed through a public hearing with speedy approval Monday night, but a proposed State Transportation Improvement Plan hit some snags.
The Moore County Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 to adopt an amended resolution for the 2011-17 STIP to be forwarded to the N.C. Department of Transportation.
Approved was a resolution that reiterates a previous request that no N.C. 24-27 bypass of Carthage include any portion of the Needmore community. It includes the addition of road improvements to serve the growth expected with the BRAC (Base Realignment program) implementation.
Commissioner Tim Lea made a motion to delete two connectors (western and southern) that would provide alternate routes around the village of Pinehurst. He based his motion on information that village officials had requested the deletion.
His motion failed 3-2 with Commissioner Cindy Morgan voting with Lea.
The original motion by Commissioner Jimmy Melton was approved, again 3-2 with the same lineup -- Chairman Colin McKenzie, Commissioners Larry Caddell and Melton voting in favor of the motion.
The vote came at the end of a public hearing lasting almost two hours.
The Western Connector, included in the resolution, calls for using existing roads to guide travelers from N.C. 211 to N.C. 5 or to U.S. 1 or U.S. 15-501 without traveling through Pinehurst. This route would require the building of a new road of about two and a half miles through wooded and farming areas, but would use such roads as Hoffman and Chicken Plant for most of the route.
"We felt this was the best alternative," Melton said. He chaired the ad hoc committee that worked on the proposed STIP.
Before the board voted, representatives of the N.C. Department of Transportation and the rural organization that represents the county heard sharp questions and comments from the commissioners.
Caddell recalled that several years ago, when he was mayor of Carthage, the transportation department approached the town with plans to adopt a southern route for the 24-27 bypass of Carthage. Now, however, he said there are five proposed routes, three to the north and two to the south. He said the original plan agreed to by the town as presented by NCDOT called for a southern route that would not have disturbed the Needmore community.
And Lea asked why NCDOT asks for county input if NCDOT does not agree with county wishes. He pointed out that the work of the ad hoc committee chaired by Melton took up thousands of hours for discussion and planning purposes, just to have some of its key recommendations ignored.
"If this is the approach of DOT, just tell us, and we won't go through the process of spending thousands of hours discussing something," Lea said. "You can talk an issue to death and not say anything."
Speaking during the public hearing were O'Linda Gillis and Jerry A. Dowdy, who objected to any bypass going through Needmore; Ed Lillard, who asked for more details about the Morganton Road-U.S. 1 interchange at Southern Pines; Earl Ingram, who proposed the use of existing roads by NCDOT signage rather than the western connector; Mike Wilson, who expressed agreement with Ingram; and Dave Kinney, who said that the new maps lack the details that were included on previous maps.
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