STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
COUNTY OF HENDERSON OCTOBER 25, 2004
The Henderson County Board of Commissioners met for a special called meeting at 8:00 p.m. in the Commissioners' Conference Room of the Henderson County Office Building. The purpose of the meeting was to meet jointly with the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to discuss Upward Road options.
Those present were: Chairman Grady Hawkins, Vice-Chairman Larry Young, Commissioner Bill Moyer, Commissioner Charlie Messer, Commissioner Shannon Baldwin, Assistant County Manager Justin Hembree, Clerk to the Board Elizabeth W. Corn, and Planning Director Karen Smith.
Also present were members from NCDOT.
CALL TO ORDER/WELCOME
Chairman Hawkins called the meeting to order and welcomed those in attendance. He particularly thanked Dewayne Sykes, Assistant Roadway Design Engineer for NCDOT and Conrad Burrell, NCDOT District Engineer.
Chairman Hawkins referred to large NCDOT maps that were posted on the back wall of the meeting room for public review. They were the same maps that were on display at the hearing held at Blue Ridge Community College.
He explained that David Nicholson, the County Manager, would not be present at this meeting. He wasn’t feeling well and went home early today.
Chairman Hawkins also explained that this meeting was for dialogue between the Board of Commissioners and the NCDOT representatives. There would be no public input allowed.
DESIGN RECOMMENDATIONS APPROVED BY THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS AND FORWARDED TO NCDOT
On August 18 the Chairman sent a fax to NCDOT with the following design recommendations:
1. While a 4-lane divided highway would be preferred, the current proposed NCDOT design does not meet the needs of the citizens and businesses along the road. Unless NCDOT can develop a plan that addresses issues such as property access, left turns, and improved safety for the I-26 interchange, Upward Road should be developed as a 5-lane highway from US 176 to Ballenger Road with appropriate landscaping.
2. Traffic lights and/or separate access roads should be provided to allow for frequent left turns at both Commercial Boulevard and McMurray Road.
3. Traffic lights should be considered at Crest Road and Ballenger Road to assist with school and truck traffic.
4. The intersection of Upward Road Extension and Upward Road at East Henderson High School should be changed to one-way, allowing only right turns from Upward Road.
5. Leave the project as proposed by NCDOT from Ballenger Road to the end of the project area.
The Board of Commissioners asked that these options be considered at the meeting held on August 19 but more importantly requested a face to face meeting with NCDOT representatives to discuss the Upward Road project.
The Transportation Advisory Committee and all the municipalities had opportunities to review and add their input to the recommendations listed above.
Dewayne Sykes, Assistant Roadway Design Engineer, NCDOT came forward and discussed the NCDOT recommendations.
He explained that they still propose a four-lane divided highway, feeling that it best meets the needs of the community in the Upward Road area. He stated a four-lane divided highway is safer than a five-lane road and it moves traffic smoother than a five-lane.
NCDOT staff had investigated the Boards’ #4 proposal but could not recommend it at this time. Mr. Sykes stated that it warranted further investigation.
They have also included a dedicated u-turn lane. They plan to widen it out enough so large trucks can safely turn around.
They recommend leaving the traffic signal at Commercial Blvd., stating that other traffic signals are not warranted at this time. They will be monitored and when signals are needed, they will be added at that time.
The project is planned for construction in July of 2008.
Chairman Hawkins informed NCDOT that the Board of Commissioners completed a Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) in July of 2004. Karen Smith showed maps of the Upward Road area from the CLUP. The CLUP shows this area to be part of our urban services area, and the core of the future planned development for Henderson County.
Mr. Sykes explained that they must balance property access versus operations of the road.
Beverly Williams, Transportation Planning Branch, NCDOT
Ms. Williams stated that the widening of I-26 was included in this plan.
NCDOT shared statistics on traffic count and accident numbers, stating that there are more head-on collisions and right angle collisions on five lane roads.
Much discussion followed between the NCDOT representatives and the Board of Commissioners with NCDOT stating that if issues arise from the community, they will study them. As Henderson County implements the Comprehensive Land Use Plan, they will continue to work closely with the community.
Chairman Hawkins made the motion that Upward Road should be developed as a 5 lane highway from Hwy. 176 to Ballenger Road with appropriate landscaping. A vote was taken and the motion carried three to two with Commissioners Moyer and Baldwin voting nay.
There being no further business to come before the Board, Chairman Hawkins adjourned the meeting.
Elizabeth W. Corn, Clerk to the Board Grady Hawkins, Chairman