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New Projects to Enhance Transportation Across Division 11…includes Cajah Mountain Road

NORTH WILKESBORO, NC (January 10, 2019) — The N.C. Department of Transportation today unveiled its draft 10-Year transportation plan for 2020-2029 at the monthly Board of Transportation meeting in Raleigh.

The plan, called the Draft 2020-2029 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), includes 17 new highway projects in Division 11. The division covers Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Caldwell, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes and Yadkin counties.

The department’s 10-year plan is updated every two years. Projects scheduled in the first five years of the plan are considered committed and were not re-evaluated when the new plan was developed. But projects in the final five years of each 10-year plan are prioritized again for consideration in the next plan. The Board of Transportation is expected to consider final approval of the draft plan this summer.

The 17 new projects for Division 11 include:

  • Installing a roundabout at the intersection of U.S. 421 and U.S. 601 in Yadkin County with right of way acquisition starting in 2021
  • Realigning the offset intersection of U.S. 321 with Deerfield Road and Meadowview Road in Watauga County with right of way acquisition starting in 2028
  • Modernizing Cajah Mountain Road from Connelly Springs Road to U.S. 321A in Caldwell County with right of way acquisition starting in 2022.

Projects with schedule adjustments include:

  • Upgrading U.S. 601 from U.S. 52 to Forrest Drive in Surry County with construction delayed from fiscal year 2020 to 2021 to assist in balancing funds
  • Upgrading U.S. 421 from N.C. 16 to U.S. 421 in Wilkes County. Construction is delayed from fiscal year 2020 to 2021.

“Adding 17 projects to this program shows how much growth our area has, and will continue to, experience, and how we will help address transportation needs,” Division 11 Engineer Mike Pettyjohn said. “Every citizen in one of the eight counties in Division 11 will benefit from at least one — and probably several — of the projects we have planned.”

The draft STIP includes projects across all transportation modes and in all 100 counties in the state. The list includes 1,266 highway projects, 86 aviation, 235 bicycle and pedestrian, six ferry, 23 public transit and 47 rail projects selected on statewide, regional and division levels. The projects were prioritized based on technical data as well as input from local officials and residents.

The draft plan includes about 500 changes in major highway projects from the current STIP. Half of the changes include new road projects. Also, there were about 200 projects where a schedule was changed for planning or budgeting needs, and 10 projects whose schedules were accelerated. Another 24 projects on the current STIP didn’t score high enough this time to remain in the new draft plan. A statewide list of these major highway changes can be found on the NCDOT STIP web page.

Projects that did not score high enough in the evaluation process to be funded at the statewide level rolled over to the regional level for consideration. Projects that were not funded at the regional level could still be considered at the division level. This cascading aspect of the process helps ensure that local input plays an important role in prioritizing projects for funding. More information about the STIP and how transportation projects are funded is available on the NCDOT website.

Division 11 will host an in-house, week-long public comment opportunity in February or March during normal business hours. It will be a chance for interested residents to review maps and handouts about projects, ask questions of local staff, and submit comments. There will also be an opportunity for residents to submit comments online, with those details being announced later.