NORTH WILKESBORO – One major route into Boone could get major renovations that will ease delays, lower congestion and reduce crashes.
The N.C. Department of Transportation invites the public to a community meeting on proposed improvements to N.C. 105 from Blowing Rock Road to the N.C. 105 Bypass. The meeting will be held from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday Oct. 9 at the Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, Watauga Campus, Building W372, 372 Community College Drive in Boone.
A superstreet, such as the one being proposed, will reduce existing congestion, improve travel conditions, provide better access management, and reduce the overall crash rate.
The proposed design redirects across-the-highway turns from side streets by directing traffic — including from the N.C. 105 Bypass — to turn right then make a U-turn at a safe location with a traffic signal. The new directions drastically reduce the possibility of T-bone and head-on crashes. In addition, the design also increases the flow of traffic by reducing the number of wait times at all signals.
“Safety is NCDOT’s top priority,” Division 11 Project Manager Ramie Shaw said. “That is why we build superstreets and install medians, particularly on corridors with heavy traffic volumes and high crash rates.”
The total crash rate on N.C. 105 between N.C. 105 Bypass and Dogwood Road is nearly double the statewide average for similar roads. An unacceptably high crash rate also exists on N.C. 105 from Dogwood Road to Faculty Street, which necessitates improvements.
The project also includes five-foot wide bicycle lanes in both directions, and the possibility of sidewalks pending an agreement with the town of Boone.
“The design is intended to reduce the risk of crashes, especially high-speed intersection crashes,” Shaw said. “This design includes medians that redirect drivers on side roads to turn right on N.C. 105 then safely head to their destination with the support of a signal. It is much safer for everybody.”
Traffic along N.C. 105 has increased nearly 25 percent in the last seven years. An average of 26,000 cars drove on N.C. 105 in front of Wilson Drive in 2009. That number jumped to 32,000 motorists per day in 2016. Even more drivers are expected through 2040.
The history of this project includes support of the High Country Regional Planning Organization that helped prioritize this project for funding. The town of Boone has supported future improvements of N.C. 105.
NCDOT engineers and consultants will be available at the meeting to gather comments and use detailed maps to explain proposed designs changed. The current schedule includes right of way acquisition in 2020 and construction in 2022.
Maps and additional information for this initial proposal are available at the NCDOT public meetings website. The design is far from complete. Transportation officials are seeking thoughts from those who travel on N.C. 105 and will incorporate those ideas as the design process continues.
Attendees, and those who can’t attend the meeting may submit written comments, questions and suggestions via mail, email or phone until Oct. 24. Those comments will be considered as the project develops.
Anyone wishing for more information may contact Ramie Shaw, NCDOT Division 11 Project Manager at [email protected], 336-903-9134 or P.O Box 250 North Wilkesboro NC 28659.
NCDOT will provide auxiliary aids and services under the Americans with Disabilities Act for disabled persons who wish to participate in this meeting. Anyone requiring special services should contact Lauren Putnam at [email protected] or 919-707-6072 as early as possible so arrangements can be made.
Those who speak Spanish and have a limited ability to read, speak or understand English may receive interpretive services upon request prior to the meeting by calling 1-800-481-6494.