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Originally published: 2013-04-20 19:52:33
Last modified: 2013-04-21 09:04:44

Boone to adopt transportation plan

by Anna Oakes

The High Country Council of Governments and the N.C. Department of Transportation Planning Branch presented the draft Watauga County Comprehensive Transportation Plan to the Boone Town Council April 18.

The council's next step is to adopt the plan, which is intended to guide transportation planning through 2040. Other local governments have already adopted the CTP.

Among the plan's key recommendations is a proposed Boone bypass, also known as the Daniel Boone Parkway.

The bypass, which has been considered for years, is proposed to circumvent the town to the south, veering off U.S. 421 east of Boone through the Bamboo, Deerfield, Winkler's Creek and Poplar Grove areas before reconnecting with U.S. 421 west of Boone.

In 2008, cost estimates for the project ranged from $149 million to $294 million.

No active planning or funding for a bypass project exists at this time, however.

HCCOG Planning and Development Director Phil Trew said the CTP steering committee thoroughly considered alternatives to a bypass, but concluded that it was the best option to address anticipated traffic growth.

"We knew that the Daniel Boone Parkway or Boone bypass is going to be a contentious project," he said.

But not building a bypass would require existing highways in town to be widened to six to eight lanes, he said.

The CTP is a multimodal plan that includes four maps of transportation networks: highway, public transportation and rail, bicycle and pedestrian. The plan reviews existing conditions and facilities and recommends improvements for each of the four networks.

Opportunities for public input, including surveys and public workshops, were provided throughout the CTP's development, which began in 2010.

To view the plan, visit http://www.regiond.org/WCTP.html.