Commissioners push for county DOT projects

By Kitsey E. Burns kburns@civitasmedia.com

February 20, 2014

YADKINVILLE — On Monday, county commissioners signed a resolution to request a joint meeting with the Secretary of Transportation and Secretary of Commerce.

According to the resolution, the purpose of the meeting is “to discuss Yadkin County’s priorities and receive assurance that these priorities are at least placed on the County’s Comprehensive Transportation Plan (CTP) and considered by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) in a professional and thoughtful manner.”

The projects requested were a rail line on the western side of I-77, an interchange near Asbury Church Road on I-77 and an interchange to connect Billy Reynolds Road to U.S. 421.

On Oct. 8, 2013, County Manager Aaron Church emailed Vernia Wilson, RPO coordinator of the NCDOT Transportation Planning Branch (TPB), to request that these items be added to the planning maps. In Wilson’s email response on Oct. 9, she confirmed that she would be “working on adding the information to the maps.”

However, at the Jan. 6 meeting of the Yadkin Board of Commissioners, Wilson said that requests for the two interchanges and the rail line were considered but that “the data DOT looked at did not support adding them to the County’s CTP.”

According to the resolution, DOT did not provide any “empirical data or any other information whatsoever on this arbitrary decision.”

During that meeting, commissioners’ requested further information about how this decision was made and were assured by Wilson that they would receive answers by the end of that week. A follow-up email from Wilson later that day requested confirmation of the projects that were of highest priority to the board and a promise that she would “regroup with TPB management.”

No further response has been received by Church or the county commissioners since Jan. 6. As of press time, Wilson was unavailable by phone or email to confirm the status of the requests.

The requested projects are “vital to Yadkin County’s economic prosperity,” according to the resolution, and therefore commissioners hope that a meeting with the Secretary of Transportation and Secretary of Commerce will lead to further consideration of these needs.

Church said Tuesday that neither he nor the commissioners expected that these projects would begin immediately, they just want to ensure that the projects can be listed on the map of future projects for the county.

“We just want it on the maps so that citizens and companies can see what we want the future of Yadkin County to look like,” Church said.

The resolution will be presented to Secretary of Commerce Sharon Decker and N.C. Rep. Mark Hollo, who will be meeting with commissioners on Friday in a general session to discuss information, concerns and economic issues.

Kitsey E. Burns may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.