N.C. 211 Widening Progresses
Right of way acquisition efforts have begun for the N.C. 211 widening project from the Pinehurst Traffic Circle to N.C. 73 in West End.
The N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) has a 2012 completion date for the $31 million construction project.
John "J.T." Tate, NCDOT right of way agent with the 8th Division office in Aberdeen, said some of the properties along the route have already been acquired. He estimates there are about 80 property owners who will be affected by the widening.
Tate met with the Moore County Board of Commissioners and interested residents at an informal information session Wednesday morning in the historic courthouse in Carthage.
Much of the land adjacent to the existing road is already in NCDOT hands, according to Brad Bass, the Division 8 agent in charge of right of way. He said this is especially true for the business portions of the highway that run from Olmsted Village and Taylortown beside the hospital into the village of Pinehurst and on to the Traffic Circle. Areas of this part of the road presently have three lanes.
The design calls for widening the 7.3-mile stretch of N.C. 211 to four lanes. It will not be large enough for controlled access, but Bass said portions of the highway will have a landscaped median, with dedicated crossover points for motorists to turn around.
"There will be plenty of opportunities to turn around," Bass said of the project.
Bass said in a telephone interview Thursday morning that the design addresses a number of safety issues along the route. He said village leaders have had considerable influence on the design as it affects the Pinehurst portion.
"There is a heavy traffic count out there, and it is a big project," Bass said.
During the meeting, Tate answered a number of questions and provided basic facts about right of way issues. However, he is not a design or traffic engineer and was unable to answer many of the questions raised by visitors attending the meeting.
Bill Price, of Seven Lakes, asked about the likely back-up at the Traffic Circle as traffic emerges from the multi-lane N.C. 211 onto U.S. 15-501 and N.C. 22 to Sandhills Community College. He also wanted to know how NCDOT plans to handle traffic flow from the multi-lane portion of N.C. 211 to the two-lane portion beyond Seven Lakes.
"That circle has been a problem for I don't know how long," added Ralph Redmond, who lives at Pinewild.
Commissioners Chairman Tim Lea made it clear that the county is not responsible for the project and advised the audience to direct questions to engineers with NCDOT in Aberdeen or Raleigh.
"We have no voting authority. We have no legal authority," Lea said.
Although Tate did not have answers to their questions, he did bring maps of the widening project, which will not change the N.C. 211 route but will take up land on both sides of the highway to add extra lanes and safety measures.
The widening will end at the N.C. 73 intersection leading to Jackson Springs. Unchanged will be the "downtown" part of West End, where a traffic signal light marks the intersection of N.C. 211 with that portion of N.C. 73 that comes from Eastwood and the U.S. 15-501 intersection.
County Manager Cary McSwain explained that the meeting was called for the purpose of providing information to interested residents and was not a public hearing on the project, which has already been approved.
In keeping with the commissioners' policy, a public-comment period was held.
Among the speakers was Ruth Stolting, who asked a number of questions about the effect the widening would have on the Pine Forest development proposed for the north side of N.C. 211 southeast of West End. If Pine Forest wins rezoning approval, the development will eventually accommodate hundreds of residents, adding to traffic congestion.
Commissioners Jimmy Melton and Nick Picerno joined Lea for the meeting. Commissioner Cindy Morgan was not present because of health problems, and Commissioner Larry Caddell, who attended an earlier special meeting of the board, was unable to remain for the highway session because of a scheduling conflict.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at (910) 693-2479 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
More like this story