6-6-2022- County leaders get a look at planned road improvements

Posted on: June 6th, 2022 by admin No Comments

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June 6, 2022

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By CADY DAVIS CDAVIS@NEWSTOPICNEWS.COM

Jun 3, 2022

 

LENOIR — On Thursday, June 2, the Caldwell County Board of Commissioners met to discuss various transportation project updates in the county.

 

“There’s multiple good things happening with Caldwell County transportation,” said County Manager Donald Duncan. “It’s odd because counties don’t usually do transportation … that falls upon the state and municipal governments, but it does impact us, nonetheless.”

 

Brian Horton with the Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG) presented a PowerPoint slideshow to the commissioners.

 

“Traffic is back up again,” Horton said. “In spring, April and May of 2020, people stopped driving or there weren’t as many people driving. But traffic is where it was and growing on top of that … Connelly Springs Road is actually the highest road that’s not a U.S./N.C. route in traffic volume.”

 

In terms of funding for these construction projects, more projects are being funded and completed instead of having their completion dates pushed back.

 

“Caldwell County is in relatively good shape compared to the rest of our region in that regard,” Horton said.

 

The Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) is a staged, multi-year, statewide program of transportation projects, consistent with the statewide transportation plan and planning processes, as well as metropolitan areas, transportation improvement programs (TIP), and planning processes. The STIP must be developed in cooperation with the metropolitan planning organizations, public transit providers, and any Regional Transportation Planning Organizations (RTPO) in the state.

 

“First time ever that the new budget coming out, the 2024-2033 STIP, has fewer projects than the prior 10-year budget,” said Horton. “That’s unprecedented. To try to mitigate that, they’ve allowed what they call ‘swaps.’ If you want to maybe change some projects out and put some projects in, you can do that.”

 

However, there are not many swap opportunities in Caldwell because the county is already on track for these projects.

 

One major project proposed is a roundabout at the intersection of Dudley Shoals and Grace Chapel roads.

 

Another proposal will set an offset intersection and a new traffic signal at Calico Road, with construction starting in 2023.

 

Also in 2023, construction is scheduled to begin at the U.S. 321/Mount Herman Road intersection, U.S. 321/Pinewood Mountain Rd intersection, and the U.S. 321/Mission Road intersection.

 

At 321A in Granite Falls, a roundabout was proposed at South Caldwell because of the school traffic in that area.

 

Additionally, there’s a big project in Granite Falls on 321A downtown out to Pine Mountain to add turn lanes in key places.

 

“With the railroad there, all those improvements are shifting the roads to the west,” said Horton. “This creates an opportunity downtown to create and reorganize the square. We’re going to realign Dudley Shoals Rd to make it come more opposite of the post office and school, maybe enclose the Dudley alley to become a sort of event space and mix the traffic with a pedestrian area.”

 

On Alex Lee Boulevard, a contact diamond interchange will enable traffic to flow faster at the light near the Granite Falls Wal-mart.

 

The commissioners considered these proposals but did not vote on these changes.

 

“The county does not maintain roads,” said Public Information Officer Paige Counts. “But county leadership can voice their concerns and thoughts to the state and advocate for certain projects.”

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