NCDOT proposes to construct the 5-mile N.C. 107 Connector from N.C. 107 to US 23-74 east of Sylva in Jackson County. The N.C. 107 Connector is included in NCDOT’s Draft 2013-2023 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) as Project R-4745.
News and Updates
NCDOT is currently developing a purpose and need statement for the N.C. 107 Connector project, which will incorporate citizen input. Comments were received during public workshops for the Jackson County Comprehensive Transportation Plan, held in October of 2009, and the N.C. 107 Feasibility Study, held in November of 2010. NCDOT will coordinate with other government agencies to obtain input on major milestones during the project’s development.
In the Draft 2013-2023 STIP, which was published in September 2012, the right-of-way acquisition schedule for the N.C. 107 Connector project was moved from FY 2019 to FY 2021. Construction is currently unfunded and not expected to occur until sometime after 2023.
The N.C. 107 Connector would help reduce the amount of traffic on existing N.C. 107, but would not solve congestion. Traffic studies show that substantial upgrades to existing N.C. 107/ U.S. 23 Business are needed to allow traffic to flow at an acceptable level in the future.
The Draft 2013-2023 STIP included a new project – R-5600 – which would involve upgrading existing N.C. 107 from N.C. 116 (Webster Road) to U.S. 23 Business (Asheville Highway). Right-of-way acquisition for this project is scheduled for FY 2021. Construction is currently unfunded and not expected to occur until sometime after 2023.
Project Overview and Purpose
The purpose of the N.C. 107 Connector Project is to improve mobility and traffic flow for through traffic between U.S. 23-74 and N.C. 107 south of Sylva. This will increase average speeds and reduce travel time along the N.C. 107 Strategic Highway Corridor.
Why is this action is needed?
N.C. 107 is the major north/south transportation corridor in Jackson County and several municipalities. It is part of a 70-mile Strategic Highway Corridor between Anderson, SC and Knoxville, Tenn. and is an important route for regional mobility. There are no major parallel routes within four miles of N.C. 107 that could serve as an alternative for through traffic. During current peak hours, portions of N.C. 107 between U.S. 23 Business and N.C. 116 in the Sylva area have reached their capacity.
N.C. 107 is a link in NCDOT’s 2004 Strategic Highway Corridors Vision Plan. The vision plan proposes a network of high-speed, safe, reliable highways throughout the state. These corridors are important for mobility, connectivity to activity centers and interstates, interstate relief, evacuation, and the national or statewide highway system. In January 2012, NCDOT released its Strategic Prioritization Process (P2.0) results for evaluating transportation priorities. This process rated highway and multi-modal projects on how they met an existing transportation need and aligned with local community priorities. The N.C. 107 Connector is 13th among projects within the region and 4th within Jackson County.
After the purpose and need statement is completed, NCDOT will identify alternative corridors. Other project development milestones include alternatives to be studied, bridge lengths, the preferred alternative, and avoidance and minimization of environmental impacts. These will be evaluated in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The schedule for the project is listed below.
- Draft EIS Winter 2018
- Final EIS Fall 2020
- Right of Way Acquisition 2021
- Construction Unfunded
The project schedule is subject to funding.
1980s: Transportation-related issues along N.C. 107 are first recognized. At the time, crash rates were among the highest in the state.
1990s: NCDOT reconfigures N.C. 107 from a four lanes to five lanes. Traffic conditions continue to worsen as a result of increased residential and commercial development. Local officials ask NCDOT to study ways to fix N.C. 107.
1994: The “Southern Loop,” a new road from U.S. 23-441 south of Dillsboro to U.S. 23-74 east of Sylva, is added to the Jackson County thoroughfare plan.
2003: Local officials ask NCDOT to prepare Feasibility Study FS-0114C. The feasibility study recommends a multi-lane road on new alignment connecting U.S. 23-441 south of Dillsboro to U.S. 23-74 east of Sylva. The Southern Loop is added to NCDOT’s State Transportation Improvement Program as R-4745.
2008: NCDOT removes the western half of the Southern Loop (U.S. 23-441 to NC 107) from the STIP and renames the project the N.C. 107 Connector. NCDOT holds a Citizens Informational Workshop at Western Carolina University on December 4, 2008. About 130 people attend the workshop. Participants voice their opinions about congestion on N.C. 107, upgrades needed on existing roads, the need for a new route, and potential negative effects of a new route on businesses, the community, and the environment.
2009: Project team members receive comments during a public workshop for the Jackson County Comprehensive Transportation Plan (CTP) on October 13, 2009.
2010: The Jackson County Comprehensive Transportation Plan (CTP) recommends projects to improve traffic conditions along N.C. 107 and US 23 Business, including the N.C. 107 Connector. Project team members receive comments during a public workshop for Feasibility Study FS-0814A on November 9, 2010. The feasibility study concludes substantial upgrades are needed to improve N.C. 107 traffic flow.
2011: In its Priority Needs List, the Southwestern Rural Planning Organization ranks the N.C. 107 Connector as 28th out of 45 projects within the region and 7th out of 15 projects within Jackson County. The Federal Highway Administration issues a revised Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the N.C. 107 Connector.
2012: The N.C. 107 Connector receives high scores in NCDOT’s P2.0 as a statewide project for improving mobility. A new project, R-5600, is included in the Draft 2013-2023 STIP to upgrade existing N.C. 107 from N.C. 116 to U.S. 23 Business. The right-of-way schedule date is FY 2021 for R-5600 and R-4745. Construction is currently unfunded for both projects and is expected to occur after 2023.
Joel Setzer, P.E.
Division 14 Engineer
- Email: Contact Us
- Phone: (828) 586-2141
- Address: 253 Webster Road, Sylva, NC 28779
Zahid Baloch, P.E.
Project Planning Engineer
- Email: Contact Us
- Phone: (919) 707-6012
- Address: 1548 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1548
Resources for Local Property Owners
In many cases, it is inevitable that a certain amount of private property must be acquired. The displacement of homes and businesses is minimized to the extent practicable. The following brochures will answer questions about this process.