The Corridor K project team received 144 comment sheets, emails and online forms and two petitions during the 30-day comment period following public meetings in Robbinsville and Andrews in February 2019.
In total, 494 subject-specific comments were contained in the feedback provided by the public. Since the public meetings, the project team has 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.
These frequently asked questions were developed to serve as responses to public comments. Comments generally fell within a range of subjects (for example, stating support or opposition to a specific scenario, concerns about impacts, etc.) As such, these FAQs address comments by subject and start with the subjects that received the most feedback.
public comments contained 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 this project.
project team is currently evaluating a potential new scenario in the
Stecoah area that was suggested during the public comment period. The
team is also evaluating improving the existing roadway and the scenarios
R-1, S-2, and S-6 in the Robbinsville to Stecoah area that were
presented during the public outreach.
The team may modify these corridors depending on the result of the
on-going environmental and engineering evaluations. Modifications would
be influenced by things such as impacts to the human and natural
environment and addressing the project’s transportation needs and
large number of comments 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 will not be
studied further as part of this project.
With regard to the
remaining scenarios, these options will be developed during the detailed
study process to avoid and minimize impacts to existing development.
The study corridors are wider than what would be the actual footprint of
the roadway. They are set that way so the roadway alignments can be
adjusted to avoid or minimize impacts to existing residences,
businesses, natural resources and cultural resources.
New location options T-1 and T-4 will not be studied further as part of this project.
biologists, geologists, engineers, architectural historians and
archaeologists will conduct field surveys along existing roadways and
within the study corridors for R-1, S-2 and S-6. If design studies find
that the potential scenario suggested for the Stecoah area can meet
design standards and satisfy the project’s purpose, field surveys will
also be conducted for this new scenario.
Once field surveys are
complete, the alignments for each scenario will be refined to avoid and
minimize impacts to environmental resources. Other measures, such as
retaining walls and slope adjustments will be evaluated to reduce
Stream and wetland impacts are also being surveyed and
delineated. After stream and wetland impacts are avoided and minimized
to the maximum extent practicable, any remaining impacts to the Waters
of the U.S. will be addressed through compensatory mitigation measures.
such as visual and noise studies, and design studies will also be done
to assess potential impacts to the Appalachian Trail and to identify
ways to avoid or minimize those impacts. These studies will be done in
cooperation with National Parks Service, the U.S. Forest Service and the
Appalachian Trail Conservancy.
the past few months, surveyors have been field-verifying aerial mapping
so the project team can have accurate information on the location of
homes, businesses, utilities and other human-built features. This work
is being done for the existing roadway corridor, S-2, and S-6.
Please contact the project team if there are cemeteries, wells, or
any other features that you feel it should be aware of. Sites of a
sensitive nature will not be made available to the public.
project’s purpose is to address the physical and mobility needs of
residents and those traveling through the area. Physical needs are
related to the limited roadway options in Graham and Cherokee counties
and how reliability can be affected by any type of blockage or
disruption such as winter weather, fog, washouts, landslides, fallen
trees, traffic incidents, vehicle breakdowns or slow-moving vehicles.
Such situations adversely affect travel time as travelers must wait or
back-track. Steep grades, narrow lane widths and sharp curves on U.S.
129, N.C. 143 and N.C. 28 affect travel speed and opportunities to pass
The preliminary purpose and need statement is
as follows: “The proposed project purpose is to provide the
transportation infrastructure necessary for the well-being of local
residents and regional traffic by improving vehicular travel time,
reliability and safety between the existing four-lane section on N.C. 28
at Stecoah and the existing four-lane section on U.S. 74 east of
Andrew; providing an average travel speed of 50 mph, consistent with the
Appalachian Development Highway System criteria and in a manner that is
sensitive to the natural environment.”
The preliminary purpose and need statement will be refined and finalized as the project’s scope and programming is confirmed.
number and type of lanes will be determined by the results of traffic
studies. There may be areas where more than two lanes are needed for
passing lanes, climbing lanes or dedicated turn lanes, but the project
is not envisioned as a four-lane roadway, as in past studies. The goal
of the project is to find a ‘right-size’ design that can best address
needs (noted in FAQ #6) while minimizing impacts. The project team is
currently collecting traffic counts that will help shape the design
elements of each of the scenarios being studied.
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.
project team is beginning detailed studies as part of the environmental
review process. Field surveys are being conducted this spring and
summer for existing N.C. 28 and N.C. 143 and within the R-1, S-2, and
S-6 study corridors. These surveys will catalog the location of
buildings and utilities, streams, wetlands, rare and protected species
habitat, historic structures and archaeological sites.
Traffic studies are also under development and other technical
studies such as a community impact assessment and indirect and
cumulative effects assessment will be developed. A noise analysis and a
visual impact analysis will be conducted as well as other effects
assessed for the Appalachian Trail.
The design of the scenarios will be refined based on field surveys
and the results of the technical studies. A draft National
Environmental Policy Act document will be completed in the fall and the
final NEPA document will be completed by the end of 2019.
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.