Study corridors for the proposed Corridor K improvements were presented at in February 2019 at public meetings held in Robbinsville and Andrews. The Corridor K project team received 144 comment sheets, emails and online forms, and two petitions during the 30-day comment period following the public meetings.
A total of 494 subject-specific comments were contained in the feedback. The project team reviewed all comments and met with local officials, transportation agency leadership, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and N.C. Department of Environmental Quality staff to discuss next steps in consideration of public feedback.
Comments generally fell within a range of subjects (for example, stating support or opposition to a specific scenario, concerns about impacts, etc.) These frequently asked questions were developed to serve as responses, starting with the subjects that received the most feedback. These FAQs were updated in August 2020 to reflect the most current information as presented in the Environmental Assessment and Public Hearing maps.
The public comments received during the February 2019 public meeting comment period included concerns related to residential relocations and environmental impacts, including habitat fragmentation and impacts to water resources. Given the large amount of public opposition to T-1 and support for improving existing roadways between Robbinsville and Andrews, it was determined that scenarios T-1 and T4 would not be studied further as part of the A-0009C project.
The study corridors presented at the February 2019 public meetings and the Improve Existing Alternative were evaluated during the NEPA process. The project team evaluated potential new scenarios suggested during the public comment period.
After additional coordination with local officials and agency representatives, the Improve Existing Alternative and No-Build Alternative were carried forward as detailed study alternatives. The Improve Existing Alternative was selected as NCDOT’s Preferred Alternative. Additional information is included in the Environmental Assessment
Many comments received during the February 2019 public meeting comment period expressed concern over property impacts associated with T-1, with others expressing concern over S-2, S-6, or general concerns about impacts to businesses and homes. (T-1 was not studied as part of the A-0009C project.)
The study corridors shown at the February 2019 public meetings were evaluated during the NEPA process in an effort to avoid and minimize impacts to existing development. The study corridors are wider than what would be the actual footprint so the roadway alignments can be adjusted to find a “best fit” that avoids and minimizes impacts to existing residences, businesses, natural resources, and cultural resources. The Environmental Assessment presents impacts based on preliminary designs of the Preferred Alternative (Improve Existing Alternative). Efforts to minimize anticipated impacts will be further evaluated during the final design phase.
New location options T-1 and T-4 were not studied further as part of the A-0009C project.
After the February 2019 public meetings, field biologists, geologists, engineers, architectural historians and archaeologists conducted field surveys for use during the NEPA process. These studies included protected species evaluations, stream and wetland delineations, visual impact assessment, air and noise studies, and cultural resource surveys. After field surveys were completed, alignments were refined to avoid and minimize impacts to environmental resources. Other measures, such as retaining walls and slope adjustments were evaluated to further reduce impacts.
Potential impacts to the Appalachian Trail and ways to avoid or minimize those impacts were studied in the NEPA process, in cooperation with National Parks Service, the U.S. Forest Service and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. After stream and wetland impacts are avoided and minimized to the maximum extent practicable, any remaining impacts will be addressed through compensatory mitigation measures.
The Environmental Assessment
includes links to the technical studies conducted during the NEPA environmental review process and detailed information on agency and stakeholder coordination.
Over the past few months, surveyors have been verifying aerial mapping so the project team can have accurate information on the location of homes, businesses, utilities and other human-built features in the project study area. Survey work for the Preferred Alternative is ongoing and anticipated to be completed in spring 2021.
Please contact the project team if there are cemeteries, wells, or any other features that you feel we should be aware of. Sites of a sensitive nature will not be made available to the public.
The purpose is to provide the transportation infrastructure necessary for the well-being of local residents by improving mobility and reliability between the existing four-lane section on N.C. 28 at Stecoah and U.S. 129 in Robbinsville.
The goal is to find a "right-size" design that can best address transportation needs while minimizing impacts. The lanes included in the NCDOT Preferred Alternative, as shown in the Public Hearing maps, were determined by the results of traffic and design studies. The Preferred Alternative is three lanes (one lane in each direction plus a passing or climbing lane). There is a four-lane section at the Appalachian Trail/Stecoah Gap area, where there is a climbing lane in each direction.
project is federally funded through the Appalachian Regional Commission
and dedicated to the Appalachian Development Highway System Additional
federal funding may be available by competing for national discretionary
grants, such as BUILD and INFRA.
An Environmental Assessment
(EA) was prepared, which describes the range of alternatives evaluated in the NEPA environmental review process and identifies the NCDOT Preferred Alternative. Measures to avoid and minimize impacts to the human and natural environment were considered during development of the EA. As the proposed project advances and final designs are developed for the Preferred Alternative, additional design refinements will be evaluated to further minimize impacts.
Final design will begin after a public hearing in October 2020, additional coordination with regulatory and resource agencies, and publication of an anticipated Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI).
It is anticipated construction from Robbinsville to Stecoah will be done in three sections. See the project schedule for additional details on next steps.
Those with questions and comments can send a message
, or contact Wanda Austin at (828) 631-1148 or Stacy Oberhausen at (919) 773-8887, ext. 116.