RALEIGH - Leadership
from the N.C. Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway
Administration met today in Cherokee with elected officials from a seven-county region in
Western North Carolina to discuss an upcoming initiative related to the Corridor
K project in Graham County, which will involve determining a vision for future
growth in the region.
Working with the Southwestern Commission (the local rural
planning organization), regional officials and community groups will help develop
a process to create comprehensive plans that outline the region's future goals in
areas such as transportation infrastructure, economic development and
environmental protection; as well as how the Corridor K project can support
The Federal Highway Administration has determined that this
regional analysis of future goals should be completed as a prerequisite to
moving forward with analysis of the Corridor K project. This comprehensive
planning and outreach effort is based upon recommendations contained in a
report released last April by the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict
This impartial third party was brought in by the project
team to resolve key issues and concerns expressed by project stakeholders. The
full text of the report is available on the project website.
NCDOT State Highway
Administrator Terry Gibson, Director of Preconstruction Deborah Barbour,
Transportation Division 14 Engineer Joel Setzer and FHWA Division Administrator
John Sullivan were among those who met with representatives from Clay, Haywood,
Swain, Graham, Cherokee, Jackson and Macon counties.
About Corridor K
The Corridor K project, also known as the U.S. 74 Relocation
Project or A-9, involves the proposed relocation of U.S. 74 from Robbinsville
to Stecoah in Graham County. Currently, U.S. 74 travels through the Nantahala
Gorge in Macon and Swain counties.
NCDOT is studying the B and C portions of the project, which
include constructing a four-lane, divided highway from U.S. 129 in Robbinsville
to N.C. 28 in Stecoah at an approximate cost of $383 million.
The relocation of U.S. 74 would improve highway capacity and
provide Graham County with a four-lane connection to Asheville and Interstate
The proposed project is part of the Appalachian Development
Highway System, which aims to foster economic development in the Appalachian Mountain