Thursday, January 23, 2014 — One week after the southern route bypass appeared to be close to elimination for further consideration, county commissioners reached a consensus to support the option.
The Stanly County Board of Commissioners unanimously favored the southern bypass as the most viable alternative as the Rocky River Rural Planning Organization works to determine a long-term Comprehensive Transportation Plan.
“The southern route is the most preferable because of the infrastructure already in place,” said Lindsey Dunevant, commission vice chairman.
“We didn’t want to disrupt existing commerce.”
Stakeholders met Jan. 17 to discuss various bypass options that would alleviate traffic congestion forecast for 2035, or when the current N.C. Highway 24-27 is expected to be over capacity. Although no official consensus was reached at the meeting, the southern route appeared to be at risk of future consideration.
At that time county officials did not voice their position. But at Tuesday night’s meeting, the board decided to support the southern route and become more vocal at the next stakeholders’ meeting.
While Commissioner Josh Morton agreed that the southern route seems to be the best option, he cautioned the board that more work is needed.
“I don’t think we should disqualify any of the routes,” he said.
“A lot can change in 21 years.”
Besides complementing the county’s infrastructure and commerce, commissioners said the southern route would benefit Oakboro in terms of greater accessibility and potential growth.
An impact study, however, shows that the southern route may be more intrusive. It calls for the relocations of 18 residences, one business and one cemetery. The southern loop would also cross six streams, four wetlands and two railroads.
The notion of converting N.C. 24- 27 into an expressway did not sit well with Chairman Tony Dennis, comparing it to Independence Boulevard in Charlotte.
“The southern route, I know it would be a longer road, is best for Stanly County,” Dennis said.
“That one in downtown Locust doesn’t make sense to me.”