Major Haywood County road projects, including several through busy Waynesville business districts, are among the many included on the the state’s 10-year plan.

The N.C. Department of Transportation has released the final draft of its 2020-29 Statewide 10-Year Transportation Plan. It will be voted on in September.

The plan includes updates on more than 1,700 projects across all transportation modes and in every county in the state.

Haywood is part of Division 14, which includes Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Henderson, Jackson, Macon Polk, Swain, Transylvania counties, where 100 projects are scheduled.

A major Haywood project includes modernizing nearly 6 miles of U.S. 276 from U.S. 19 to Interstate 40 in Haywood County by upgrading shoulders and turn lanes to current standards.

Construction will start in 2024 on the $20 million project, according to the plan.

The plan also includes updates on road projects previously reported on for U.S. 23 Business at North Main Street and Walnut Street in Waynesville.

The will create a roundabout at the intersection and is estimated to cost $4 million. Plans call for completion in 2021.

Right-of-way acquisition on the $51 million project on U.S. 23 Business from Hyatt Creek Road to Pigeon Street (the South Main Street project) is in progress.

The project will widen the road through the business district on South Main Street in Waynesville, and construction isn’t set to start until 2023.

Russ Avenue project in Waynesville that will start at the Great Smokey Mountain Expressway and extend to U.S. 19 is a $13.6 million project expected to start in 2025.

A second project on Russ Avenue, estimated to cost about $24 million

There are also pavement rehabilitation projects scheduled for nearly 15 miles of roadway on Interstate 40 in Haywood, starting from the Tennessee state line. The projects will cost about $12 million.

Plans also include:

• a $2 million project on Old Balsam road;

• a $1.9 million project on Cove Creek Road three miles west of U.S. 276 to repaid a slide area;

• Chestnut Mountain Road upgrade on 3.9 miles at a projected cost of $6 million;

• an intersection realignment project at Crymes Cove Road and Raccoon Road projected to cost $2 million;

• a $26.6 million project to modernize the roadway from Fie Top Road at Ghost Town to the Blue Ridge Parkway. No work has been done to date.

• a $540,000 project to realign Brown and Boyd avenues that will include a new roadway (School Street), raised crosswalk, painted crosswalks, a refuge island, bulb out and signage.

• replace two bridges over Richland creek for a total of $7 million that will occur in 2021-22;

• replace bridges over U.S. 19 and U.S. 23 at $3.3 million;

• replace the bridge over Southern Railroad on U.S. 74 for $6 million;

• replace the ridge over the west fork of the Pigeon River for $740,000.

“The addition of these projects to our plan for Division 14 shows the overall need and desire for new and safer infrastructure in the far western part of the state,” Division 14 Engineer Brian Burch said. “We have worked in a smart and efficient manner with local governments, planning organizations and other partners to help plan for both the near and distant future.”

The department’s 10-year transportation plan is updated every two years. Projects scheduled in the first six years of the plan are considered committed and are not re-evaluated when a new plan is developed.

Projects in the final four years of each plan are prioritized again based on technical data, as well as input from local officials and residents.

The overall statewide list includes 1,319 highway projects, 86 aviation, 234 bike and pedestrian, six ferry, 23 public transit and 50 rail projects selected on statewide, regional and division levels. The projects were prioritized based on technical data as well as input from local officials and residents.

Included in the plan are more than 200 projects worth about $2.5 billion that are scheduled to be awarded in fiscal year 2019-2020.

The draft plan includes 385 changes in highway projects from the initial draft STIP. Some are new projects, while others have had schedule adjustments.

The N.C. Board of Transportation is expected to consider final approval of the draft plan at its September meeting.

More information about the STIP and how transportation projects are funded is available on the NCDOT website.

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