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The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) proposes to improve N.C. 215 from U.S. 64 at Cherryfield to Macedonia Church Road (SR 1326) in Transylvania County. This 5.9-mile portion of N.C. 215 is a narrow, curvy, two-lane mountain roadway located partly within the Pisgah National Forest and is part of the Forest Heritage National Scenic Byway. Portions of the route lie between nearly vertical rock walls on one side and steep slopes leading to the North Fork French Broad River on the other side. These topographical constraints, as well as the scenic and environmental concerns within the Pisgah National Forest, present construction challenges. Currently, existing N.C. 215 in this area is characterized by numerous curves and restricted sight distance. The sharpest curves reach a maximum of 75 degrees. While the posted speed limit is 35 miles per hour (mph), current design speeds range from 15 to 35 mph.
The primary purpose of the proposed project is to improve the safety of N.C. 215 through the project area.
Latest News and Updates
Recently completed activities:
- Review of sensitive species in the project area (on-going through April 2014)
- Visual Impacts Analysis (through April 2014)
- Agency coordination (ongoing)
During field evaluations in 2013 for the stream and wetland updates, a rare plant species (Drepanolejeunea appalachiana), a nearly microscopic liverwort) was found. Field reviews are under way to determine the prevalence of this species in the project area.
- Currently, no recent news releases.
Project Overview and Purpose
NCDOT is working on a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for improvements to N.C. 215 between U.S. 64, just north of the town of Rosman, to Macedonia Church Road (SR 1326), just south of the community of Balsam Grove, a distance of about five miles. The existing N.C. 215 runs (north to south and has eight-foot travel lanes with many sharp curves. The shoulders are narrow or lacking. Area residents have expressed concern with emergency vehicles and school buses using the existing road because these larger vehicles cannot easily stay within the narrow lanes. The purpose of the project is to improve safety, not to provide capacity for additional traffic.
There are three “build” alternatives under consideration for the proposed improvements:
- Two alternatives to relocate N.C. 215 on new location (Alternatives 3a and 3b)
- Improve Existing N.C. 215 in its current location.
The No-Build Alternative is also under review, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
The project alternatives pass through portions of the Pisgah National Forest, which is maintained by the USFS. N.C. 215 is part of the Forest Heritage National Scenic Byway and is a popular route for tourists. Based on discussions with USFS and a review of the anticipated future traffic on NC 215, NCDOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) agreed to revise the project typical section (roadway profile) to 11-foot lanes with six-foot shoulders, the first two feet of which will be paved. This revision reduces the impact to streams, natural habitat and residents, and limits the effect to the visual environment of the area.
Figure 1 - Project Vicinity Map
Figure 2 - Project Alternatives Map
Stacy Oberhausen, P.E.
Project Development Engineer
Email: Contact Us
Phone: (919) 707-6033
1548 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1548
Kevin Moore, P.E.
Roadway Design Engineer
Email: Contact Us
Phone: (919) 707-6287
1582 Mail Service Center
Raleigh NC 27699-1582
Brian Burch, P.E.
Division Construction Engineer
Email: Contact Us
Phone: (828) 586-2141
253 Webster Road
Sylva, NC 28779
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.