Residents rallying against road widening proposal

NC 108

POLK COUNTY, NC (WSPA) – A proposed road widening project is leaving a local community frustrated.

It’s happening on N.C. 108 – known as Lynn road in Polk County.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation wants to improve a section of that road – saying it’ll make traveling safer.

But the project would have major impacts on several properties.

NCDOT officials said they’re bringing these ideas back to the table after concerned residents shut down recent year’s plans to widen the road to four lanes.

Some people we talked with say they don’t want the new proposal either and are rallying to stop it.

“I don’t know what part of the word no they don’t understand,” said resident Becky Oliver. “”What they’re considering is absolutely horrendous.”

Some people we talked with say they don’t want the new proposal either and are rallying to stop it.

“Sidney Lanier – Southern poet, composer – came to this area for his health,” said resident Hilda Pleasants of her historic home where a civil war serviceman died in 1881. “Their family had a profound effect on this area.”

Now she’s worried part of her property is threatened by a road widening project on N.C. 108 in Polk County.

The two lane proposal with left turn lanes at several intersections includes replacing bridges and adding paved shoulders.

“Some growth is natural, but to change the lifestyle of a few people is not my idea of good growth,” said Pleasants.

The proposed project is from U-S 176 in Tryon to Hospital Drive in Columbus.

“They’re taking away the quaintness of these two towns,” said Oliver. “We came here because it was small.”

NCDOT says they need to prepare now for up to 14,000 vehicles projected to use the road each day by 2040.

“Western North Carolina – in areas like Tryon – are among the fastest growing areas in all of North Carolina,” said NCDOT spokesman David Uchiyama.

NCDOT says with 57 accidents from 2012 to 2017 they need to improve safety but that would mean relocating four homes and 6 businesses.

“We will not have parking to use the building,” said Dr. Joe Picone, who has a business off N.C. 108. “We’re going to lose our practice and all the other businesses in this building will be gone.”

NCDOT said $3.1 million of the $19.4 million project is being set aside for right of way acquisitions.

“Peacefulness and being able to relax in my home, I don’t really have a price tag for that,” said Pleasants.

A group is planning a rally/meeting on Thursday at 6:00 p.m. in front of Dr. Picone’s office.

NCDOT said the project is in it’s early stages and they’re encouraging people to share their comments.

Uchiyama said the fact that the four lane plan was changed to this one shows NCDOT is listening.

Cick here for more information on the project and details about how to comment.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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