RALEIGH - The following are highlights from the past week at the N.C. Department of Transportation. Several of the below stories are also featured in our weekly newscast, NCDOT Now, which can be viewed by clicking here.
Wildflower Awards Banquet
The wildflower beds lining North Carolina's highways took center stage this week at the Wildflower Awards Banquet in Raleigh.
The annual awards, sponsored by The Garden Club of North Carolina, recognize the efforts of NCDOT staff who carry out North Carolina's Wildflower Program and enhance the overall appearance and environmental quality of our state's highways.
Awards were given to the best-looking flower beds in each region of the state that bloomed in 2014, as well as the best overall highway division wildflower program.
NCDOT is celebrating 30 years of beautifying North Carolina's roadsides. Today, there are more than 1,500 acres of flower beds across the state.
View a photo gallery of the award-winning flower beds. A complete list of this year's winners can be found here.
I-485 Naming Ceremony
Governor Pat McCrory joined NCDOT and the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce last Friday to officially name the final segment of the Interstate 485 Outer Loop in honor of H. Allen Tate Jr. -a longtime advocate for transportation improvements in the Charlotte region.
In addition to Tate's achievements in real estate as CEO of Allen Tate Company, he has served as chair of several transportation committees. In 2008, Tate led the charge for I-485 to be completed ahead of schedule, as well as the widening of I-85 in Cabarrus County and of I-485 south of Charlotte.
The final 5.7 mile-segment of I-485 stretches from Old Statesville Road to I-85. It completes the 67-mile outer loop around Charlotte and provides an important link between I-85 and I-77.
New Board Members Sworn In
This week the N.C. Board of Transportation welcomed new members at their monthly meeting in Raleigh.
Board of Transportation members represent a specific division or at-large area of interest and work with NCDOT staff members to make decisions about transportation priorities.
Five new board members were sworn in on Tuesday, representing the rural piedmont and sandhills, Charlotte Metro, and far western mountain region of the state. In addition, three current board members were also reappointed.
The new members are:
Sandra Fountain - Division 3 - Sampson, Duplin, Onslow, Pender, New Hanover and Brunswick counties;
Terry Hutchens - Division 6 - Cumberland, Harnett, Bladen, Robeson and Columbus counties;
Patrick Molamphy -Division 8 - Moore, Lee, Chatham, Randolph, Hoke, Montgomery, Richmond and Scotland counties;
Tracy Dodson - Division 10 - Mecklenburg, Union, Anson, Cabarrus and Stanly counties; and
Walter Debnam Jr. -Division 14 - Cherokee, Clay, Macon, Graham, Transylvania, Henderson, Polk, Jackson, Haywood and Swain counties.
The returning members are:
Major General Hugh Overholt -Division 2 -Member since 2009 - Carteret, Jones, Lenoir, Greene, Pitt, Beaufort, Craven and Pamlico counties;
Gus Tulloss -Division 4 -Member since 2008 - Johnston, Nash, Wayne, Wilson, Edgecombe and Halifax counties; and
Andrew Perkins - At Large -Member since 2003.
Owner-Agency of the Year Award Presen