County OKs road program

May. 10, 2013 @ 06:24 AM

A plan to widen Oak Street to three lanes from U.S. 74A to Piney Ridge Road received Rutherford County Commission support.

Commissioners approved a resolution approving the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s (NCDOT) 2013-14 Secondary Roads Improvement Program Monday night.

In all, four roads in the county are slated for improvement under the plan which is estimated to cost 905,449. NCDOT plans to improve Painter Road to the South Carolina state line; level and resurface a portion of Oscar Justice Road to U.S. 64, and; level and resurface part of Airport Road.

The largest project, however, will be the widening of Oak Street. That portion of the plan is estimated to cost $175,000.

“We have not gone into the design yet,” said Doug McNeil, NCDOT engineer. “We are going to get to the Walmart entrance and these are very rough numbers.”

McNeil said there are considerations such as right-of-way and clearance for driveways to be taken into account in the project before a final figure is determined.

Part of the Oak Street project into Forest City was completed in 2004. The new project includes constructing sidewalks along Oak Street to U.S. 74A.

“We secured funding to do a sidewalk project that goes up to the Burger King,” McNeil said. “There is no curb and gutter to extend the sidewalk to Walmart but the new project will allow for that to include sidewalks to that point.”

While the Oak Street project will have the largest traffic impact, the road improvement to Painter Road comes with the largest price tag. NCDOT estimated improving the 0.67 miles of road will cost $335,000.

If there is money left over or any of the projects on the list cannot be completed the next project slated for completion is 0.75 miles of Aydlotte Road.

During the public hearing, there were questions raised about the new transportation funding formula being worked through the North Carolina General Assembly.

Gov. Pat McCrory proposed augmenting the current road improvement funding structure to allow more money for higher traffic improvements while decreasing the amount of money set aside for divisional projects.

David Brown, Division 13 representative to the NCDOT Board of Transportation, said the measure is still going through the process in the General Assembly and there is no idea what will and won’t be affected.

Under McCrory’s funding formula, 40 percent of funding will go to statewide projects, 40 percent will be directed to regional projects and the remaining 20 percent of funding will be divided among the 14 NCDOT divisions.

“The secondary road program is not supposed to be affected by this new formula,” Brown said. “This program has been quite successful since 1989.”

Brown added if the new funding formula passes the money will not be affected until 2015.