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Public input sought on DOT plan

Local citizens have a chance this week to weigh in on a Regional Comprehensive Transportation Plan that contains projects in this area deemed to be needed over the next 25 to 30 years.

That opportunity will come Thursday during a 6 p.m. meeting of the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners in the Municipal Building, when a public hearing is scheduled on the long-range transportation proposal that affects Surry, Davie and Yadkin counties.

The plan is a tool by the N.C. Department of Transportation to meet both present and anticipated travel demand within its networks of roadways.

It is based on such factors as in-depth analysis of the best information available, land-use plans, community and statewide goals and public input.

Officials say the finalized document will represent a community’s consensus on its future transportation system to support anticipated growth and development in a safe and effective manner over a three-decades time frame.

It is designed to be “multi-modal” in nature, covering not only highway travel, but bicycle, pedestrian and rail.

Key projects

The Regional Comprehensive Transportation Plan affecting Surry County includes several major projects, some of which have been widely reported in the past, along with others relatively new to the drawing board.

These were outlined during a preliminary plan presentation at an Aug. 17 city council meeting by Andy Bailey, a transportation engineering supervisor with the DOT.

• One of the previously mentioned efforts reflects a “superstreet” configuration for the nearly one-mile section of the U.S. 601 (Rockford Street) business corridor from U.S. 52 to Forrest Drive near Walmart.

This involves a widening project for the heavily traveled street to add a raised center median and turnaround bulb-outs to reduce conflicts at intersections, improve safety, reduce delays and improve pedestrian facilities. This project also includes accommodations for transit and bicycle access, under the plan proposed.

The superstreet project has been in the works for years, but delayed by COVID and budgetary reasons.

• Another previously reported project involves plans for widening a six-mile stretch of U.S. 601 (Rockford Street) from Interstate 74 to Turkey Ford Road.

U.S. 601 is to be expanded to four lanes to relieve future congestion along with improving mobility and safety. This project also includes accommodations for transit and multi-use path facilities.

• One newer project emerging involves a plan to widen a 2.54-mile portion of N.C. 89 (West Pine Street) from West End Drive to Antioch Avenue to four lanes.

“This one’s interesting,” Bailey said of the modernization effort involved.

A “divided boulevard” would be created to relieve future congestion, improve mobility and enhance safety. This project also includes accommodations for bicycle facilities.

• Another highlighted project involves plans for widening Franklin Road in Mount Airy to three lanes, from Pipers Gap Road to Forrest Drive, a distance of slightly more than two miles.

This is aimed at improving travel and safety.

Bailey further made a point to mention a project to widen U.S.-Business on the east side of town to allow for turn lanes.

The plan proposed also includes many other widening and modernization efforts for local roadways, along with intersection improvements and projects to enhance bicycle and pedestrian transportation.

It incorporated the recently updated Mount Airy Pedestrian Plan and the Yadkin Valley Regional Bike Plan, according to the DOT representative.

Commissioner Deborah Cochran asked at the meeting if Surry County officials had weighed in on the Regional Comprehensive Transportation Plan and was told by Bailey that the DOT was hoping to get municipal officials’ approval first.

The complete, 103-page plan for the three-county region can be accessed at



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