The N.C. Department of Transportation will hold an open house and public hearing for the proposed widening of U.S. 221 to four lanes between Deep Gap and Jefferson on Tuesday at Ashe County High School in West Jefferson.
The open house is informal and people may come at any time between 4 and 6:30 p.m. DOT representatives will attend to answer questions and receive comments about the project.
The formal presentation, which begins at 7 p.m., will consist of an explanation of the proposed design, right of way and relocation requirements and procedures. Citizens can comment or ask questions at the presentation.
The presentation and comments will be recorded and a transcript will be prepared. Additional comments may be submitted until Dec. 21.
DOT plans to widen 16.1 miles of U.S. 221, now a two-lane highway, to a four-lane highway with a median from U.S. 421 in Deep Gap to the U.S. 221 Business/N.C. 88 intersection in Jefferson.
The project is designed to increase traffic capacity, alleviate congestion and reduce traffic crashes, stated a DOT press release. It will require acquisition of additional rights of way (ROW) and relocation of homes and businesses, the release stated.
ROW acquisition is scheduled to begin this summer and construction is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2015.
DOT Division Engineer Mike Pettyjohn said the project will be constructed in five phases: A, B, C, D and E. Phase A, B and C are the first three phases and begin with phase A at the intersection of U.S. 421 and U.S. 221 in Deep Gap.
Pettyjohn said the project is listed with an estimated construction cost of $118 million and a ROW acquisition cost of $34 million.
He said most of the project would incorporate the existing two lanes. It includes at least one new bridge across the South Fork of the New River in Ashe.
Aerial photo maps showing the project’s design and a copy of the environmental assessment are available for public review at the DOT resident engineer’s office at 160 Den-Mac Drive - Suite A, Boone; the Ashe County manager’s office at 150 Government Circle, Suite 2500, Jefferson; and at the Watauga County Planning Office at 331 Queen Street, Boone.
Copies of the maps are also available on the project public meeting webpage at http://www.ncdot.gov/projects/publicmeetings/.
For more details, contact Jamille Robbins of the DOT Human Environment Section at 1598 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1598. He can be reached by phone at 919-707-6085, or via email at email@example.com.
DOT will provide auxiliary aids and services under the Americans with Disabilities Act for disabled persons who want to participate in this meeting. Anyone requiring special services should contact Robbins.
People who speak Spanish and don’t speak English, or have a limited ability to read, speak or understand English, may receive interpretive services upon request prior to the meeting by calling 1-800-481-6494.