Roadmap for the future

Waynesville road project exemplifies new direction in transportation
By Kyle Perrotti | Oct 19, 2016
Photo by: Kyle Perrotti North Carolina Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson speaks on the newly completed bridge on Howell Mill Road.

In a visit to Waynesville Monday, N.C. Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson had high praise for the Howell Mill Road project, which was completed three months ahead of schedule and features a new thoroughfare with two 14-foot lanes, a roundabout and a new bridge featuring imprinted concrete and finished stone walls.

Along with Tennyson, a couple Haywood County public figures also said a few words. Waynesville Mayor Gavin Brown said the project was not only completed ahead of schedule and under budget, but produced an outstanding final product.

“Every once in a while, form and substance can work together,” he said.

Following Brown, State Sen. Jim Davis said North Carolina citizens can expect more projects like this. He noted the project was so successful because this was the first time the state stopped the transfer of money out of the highway trust fund and into the general revenue fund, allowing more funds to be dedicated to building roads.

“I am incredibly proud of this project and this is a prime example of what can happen when a private enterprise and government come together,” Davis said.

Tennyson wrapped things up, beginning his speech by praising the work of both Haywood County’s Division 14 of the N.C. Department of Transportation, as well as Mountain Creek Contractors, for completing the project quickly. He also praised everyone involved for having an abundance of pride in the project and creating something that will work toward beautifying the entrance to Waynesville's business district.

“I believe … people will take more pride in this bridge because aesthetically it doesn’t just look like the lowest priced thing we could put up,” he said. “We didn’t waste any money, but this actually, I think, would be a point of pride for people that would see it.”

Following the ceremony, Tennyson and Division 14 Construction Engineer Brian Burch spoke about other projects that show the same special touch as the one on Howell Mill Road.

“Certainly our rest areas are that way,” Tennyson said. “I think our department has had a reputation for a long time of having a lot more than just a place to stop."

Burch focused more on Haywood County. He noted that there are a couple big projects that will affect local residents, one which is slated to go into the heaviest phases of production next spring, and one which is still in the planning and design phases.

The first project Burch noted was the “much needed” improvements that will be added to I-40 between mile marker 27 and mile marker 20 in Haywood County.

“That will essentially end with everything rehabbed from mile 27 to the Tennessee line,” he said. “That’s something that’s going to be a good project to see completed.”

Further down the road, Burch said the DOT will begin improvements on Russ Avenue from the US-74 interchange back up to North Main Street near downtown Waynesville.

“That project, we’ve got some conceptual designs we’re going to be sharing with the public probably sometime later this year or maybe spring,” Burch said.