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Originally published: 2014-04-22 18:11:37
Last modified: 2014-04-22 18:13:26

Town council to recommend turn lane

by Anna Oakes

The Boone Town Council on Thursday is slated to recommend the construction of a left turn lane at King and College streets as the town's single submission for State Transportation Improvement Program funding consideration.

The STIP prioritization process occurs every two years, and this year's round is the first to be submitted under the state's new Strategic Mobility Formula signed into law last year.

Under the formula, state-level projects receive 40 percent of available funding ($6 billion), regional-level projects receive 30 percent of available funding ($4.5 billion) and the division level receives 30 percent of available funding ($4.5 billion) during the next 10 years.

The High Country Council of Governments -- the Rural Planning Organization for Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey counties -- and N.C. Department of Transportation Division 11 will develop final priority lists for STIP consideration at the regional and divisional levels.

In a March 19 memo, HCCOG indicated that it has developed a new methodology for scoring and ranking transportation projects in the RPO area. Under the methodology, Watauga County was asked to select four projects as priorities, and the town of Boone was asked to submit one project.

"The number of projects to be scored and ranked will need to be narrowed down in an effort to maximize allocated points for scoring fewer projects, thus enabling the reduced number of projects to better compete for available funding," said David Graham, HCCOG transportation planner.

Council members said traffic often backs up on King Street due to AppalCART buses waiting to turn left onto College Street.

The council agreed to place the recommendation on the consent agenda for approval with a slate of other action items at Thursday's council meeting, which begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at 1500 Blowing Rock Road.

Monday marked the first week of a new regular council meeting schedule in which the board will meet the third Monday of each month to finalize its agenda for the subsequent Thursday, moving matters for which there is consensus to the consent agenda for swift adoption. Mayor Andy Ball proposed the new schedule last month in an effort to streamline the council's meetings, which often last several hours and late into the evening.

The council agreed to place eight or nine other agenda items on the consent slate as well.

Following the open session of Thursday's meeting, the council will meet in closed session to discuss four agenda items, including the handling or settlement of a claim by the town, property easement negotiations, a proposed contract for the acquisition of town property by the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country and a proposed contract for property acquisition in the town's extraterritorial jurisdiction.

For more information, call (828) 268-6200 or visit http://www.townofboone.net and select "Public Notices" to download a copy of the April meeting agenda.