Boone bypass recommended again
by Anna Oakes
A Boone bypass is once again
on the table as part of Watauga County’s new Comprehensive Transportation Plan.
The public comment period for the draft plan, developed by a steering
committee, opened today and continues through Nov. 13. Staff and elected officials from Appalachian
State University, Watauga County and the towns of Boone, Blowing Rock, Seven Devils and Beech
Mountain met for an intergovernmental meeting Thursday at ASU’s Appalachian Athletics Center
to discuss the plan.
Representatives from the county and towns
have coordinated with the High Country Council and N.C. Department of Transportation’s
Planning Branch since September 2010 to develop the CTP.
The CTP is a long-range, multimodal plan that will include four maps of transportation networks: highway, public transportation/rail, bicycle and pedestrian. The plan will review existing conditions and facilities and recommend improvements.
got to be some kind of bypass,” said Mike Hall, a member of the Boone Area Chamber of
Commerce and longtime proponent of a bypass, also called the Daniel Boone Parkway.
Although some local officials — as well as the Boone 2030 land use plan
— have proposed an alternate route for the bypass using existing roads, the committee
ultimately determined that a new highway is needed.
recommended in the draft CTP would travel south of Boone from U.S. 421, run parallel to Browns
Chapel Road, have an interchange at Bamboo Road, have an interchange at Deerfield Road, have an
interchange at U.S. 321 near Boone Golf Course, have interchanges at Deck Hill and Winklers Creek
roads, have an interchange at Poplar Grove Road and then travel parallel to the N.C. 105 bypass
back to U.S. 421 west of Boone.
incorporate improvements referred to by officials as “access management,” which aim to
reduce the potential for traffic conflicts.
to reduce potential traffic conflicts include eliminating driveways near intersections, installing
medians, installing turn lanes, building alternative access ways, interconnecting properties,
traffic signal spacing and restricting turning movements.
Meeting attendees were shown a video espousing the merits of access management.
The video cited study findings that access management improvements have rarely caused businesses to
fail and that businesses experience similar or greater sales after completion of the
Watauga County last completed a thoroughfare plan
in 2002. Thoroughfare plans have since been replaced by comprehensive transportation plans, which
include all modes of transportation (e.g., bicycling, walking and public transit) — not just
To view the draft plan and recommendations, visit http://www.regiond.org.