Over five hundred people showed up to the NCDOT public meeting on November 13 regarding the widening of Sweeten Creek Road. Some of the key portions of NCDOT’s proposal are summarized below. The public is encouraged to submit comments prior to December 13 via email at: [email protected].
More information, including links to maps, can be found at www.ncdot.gov.
NCDOT has proposed a four-lane, median-divided, curb and gutter road with a ten-foot multi-use path on one side and a five-foot sidewalk on the other. (The multi-use path will accommodate both pedestrians and bikers). The road will run from just past Rock Hill Road to Hendersonville Road. The proposed lanes are 12 feet wide and the proposed speed limit is 45 miles per hour.
In the project maps, NCDOT has divided the project decision-point segments into the following eight sections noted by an orange line and arrows (moving south to north):
- Hendersonville Road to approximately the Cedar Lane intersection
- Approximately the Cedar Lane intersection to just before the Windsor Park subdivision
- Just before the Windsor Park subdivision to approximately half-way between the U-haul Storage business and Best Distributing
- Half-way between the U-haul Storage business and Best Distributing to Givens Estates
- Givens Estates to just past the Hollybrook subdivision
- Just past the Hollybrook subdivision to the Blue Ridge Parkway overpass bridge
- From the Blue Ridge Parkway overpass bridge to just past the Cimmaron subdivision entrance
- Just past the Cimmaron subdivision entrance to the Fortline Waterworks business (which is just past the Rock Hill Road intersection)
In the coming months, and based on feedback, NCDOT will determine which way the road section in each of these segments will be widened – east or west. They developed these segments so that the direction to widen the road within each segment could be made independently of all other segments. So, for example, NCDOT could choose to widen all the odd numbered segments to the east and the even number to the west. It could also choose to widen all to the east and all to the west, or some other combination thereof.
NCDOT has informed local officials that it has not made any decision about which way – east or west – the road will be widened for any of these segments. An NCDOT consultant explained that, given the topography and the current development along the road, they would actually need to take more properties if they simply evenly widened the road east and west.
When looking at the maps, you will see an East Widening Concept and a West Widening Concept. The bold orange line is the current road footprint. The purple shaded portion in the East Widening Concept and the green shaded portion in the West Widening Concept is the proposed widening (from berm to berm – including the sidewalk and multi-use path) of the footprint based on the respective concept.
A number of individuals and communities have raised concerns that they have including how wide the footprint might be and, consequently, the number of homes and businesses that might be taken by eminent domain. Another concern is obviously which way the road will be widened.
Finally, communities north of Mills Gap Road are particularly concerned about a median blocking their abilities to turn left out from their subdivisions onto Sweeten Creek Road and to turn left back into their subdivisions when travelling south on Sweeten Creek Road. Since there is no other road access to Hendersonville Road between Gerber Road and Rock Hill Road, without breaks in the median, the residents in these communities would have to travel a significant distance to access Hendersonville Road. These concerns have been raised with the NCDOT, but it would help if others who share them would share similar feedback.
Your Opportunity to Comment
Your comment on the proposed design matters greatly. NCDOT is accepting comments via email through December 13, 2018 to the following email address:
[email protected]. The public is strongly encouraged to comment.
NCDOT will review the comments and take them into consideration in refining the proposal. They expect the next public meeting, which will have a recommended widening path, to occur in Summer 2019.
Prepared by V. Kapoor, South Asheville Resident & Business Community Organization.