Orderly Growth Is Up to Community
I am writing in response to Mayor Nancy Fiorillo’s op-ed, “State Pushes Highway Widening for Wrong Reasons” (Sept. 19).
Mayor Fiorillo suggests that the main reasons for improving U.S. 1 through Moore County are for Fort Bragg security and as an evacuation route for the Shearon Harris Nuclear Plant in Wake County. U.S. 1 is on the state’s Strategic Highway Corridors network as a key north-south route through the state, and as such, it could serve as an evacuation route in emergencies.
But that’s not the main reason for upgrades in Moore County. The key goals are safety and mobility. The three-mile segment of U.S. 1 through Southern Pines and Aberdeen is a five-lane highway through a fast developing commercial area, with center turn lanes, numerous traffic signal intersections, commercial access driveways on both sides, and heavy peak-hour congestion. That configuration, especially at high traffic volumes, is inherently dangerous. Current traffic approaches 40,000 vehicles per day.
U.S. 1 is being studied as part of Moore County’s Comprehensive Transportation Plan, a blueprint for growth through the year 2040. Currently, the county has no long-range transportation plan to address future traffic. Without such a plan, the county will find it difficult to compete on a statewide level for larger transportation improvements.
NCDOT is helping prepare the comprehensive plan at Moore County’s request, in coordination with the region’s Rural Planning Organization and with extensive citizen input. Contrary to Mayor Fiorillo’s assertion, DOT will not impose a U.S. 1 solution that is strongly opposed by the local community. In fact, we look to the community to come up with a solution that we can help implement.
We welcome constructive suggestions from her and all other citizens who care about orderly growth, safety and mobility for Moore County’s future.
N.C. Department of Transportation
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