NOTE: The information below is a synopsis of the project's history, current status and next steps. More detailed information is also available for review.
Transportation improvement studies for this region have been in various planning stages for decades. Due to the sensitive environmental, cultural, and natural resources in the area, the Federal Highway Administration and the N.C. Department of Transportation are taking a fresh look at the project.
New studies for this project officially kicked off in July 2015 with a transportation and resource agency leadership meeting where themes were identified for a new project approach. Before initiating the formal environmental review process, the team needed to refine project elements in more detail than the general descriptions contained in the Graham and Cherokee County Comprehensive Transportation Plans and the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program.
Although specific elements of the project are still being explored, a "fresh look" approach with a focus on early and ongoing collaboration was developed to help avoid schedule delays by identifying and addressing concerns as they developed. The new process emphasizes early and continuing participation of local elected officials and governmental staff members.
The Federal Highway Administration and NCDOT is currently moving through the new planning process. This includes coordinating with representatives from regulatory and resource agencies along with local elected officials and governmental staff to identify project elements to be studied during the formal environmental review process.