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January 22, 2020

Public Feedback Sought on Rural Highway

The N.C. Department of Transportation desires the public’s feedback on three possible options the agency is proposing to improve the highway from West Buffalo Creek to N.C. 143 Business.

Those options will be presented at a public meeting from 4-7 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Graham County Community Building, 196 Knight Street, Robbinsville. Transportation officials will use  public questions and comments on the three alternatives to help determine which option moves forward toward construction.

All of the sharp curves, steep grades, narrow lanes and lack of paved shoulders contribute to the highway’s high crash rate —especially lane departure crashes. In a five-year study period, 90 percent of crashes were lane-departure crashes, 22 percent were severe crashes, 40 percent of the crashes were rollovers, and 70 percent occurred between West Buffalo Road and Buchanan Branch Road.

All of the proposed improvements would reduce the severity of the curves and reduce the steep slopes, which will improve safety on the rural highway. People can view maps of the three options on the NCDOT public meeting website.

Ideas for improvements have existed within the county since the 1990s. This project has been included in the Graham County Comprehensive Transportation plan approved in 2015. County officials and the Southwestern Regional Planning Organization recognized the need for improvements and supported the project.

  • Alternative One proposes to improve the existing path of N.C. 143 to a design speed of 45 MPH at a cost of $25.6 million.
  • Alternative Two proposes to improve the highway to a 35 MPH design speed with a new alignment from Chickalee Cemetery to the Graham County Waste Convenience Site at a cost of $33.9 million.
  • Alternative 4A proposes improvements to a 35 MPH design speed in a new alignment and reconfigured intersection of N.C. 143 and N.C. 143 Business at a cost of $27.7 million.

For more information or to submit comments, contact NCDOT Division 14 Project Team Lead Josh Deyton at jbdeyton@ncdot.gov or 828-586-2141 or by mail at 252 Webster Road, Sylva, NC 28779. NCDOT will accept comments through Dec. 26.

About The Author

Andy has worked in broadcasting around Western North Carolina over the last 17 years. He serves as the Operations Manager and Program Director for WRGC and WBHN. “I’ve been with the crew here at Five Forty Broadcasting since the idea of bringing the station back to Jackson County at 540-AM. I feel a personal connection with community radio and the area”. In the past, Andy has worked with iHeart Media and Sky Country Broadcasting. He resides in Haywood County.

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