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Bypass opponents to meet

AHOSKIE – The anti-Ahoskie bypass movement continues.

A 6:30 p.m. meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 4 at O’Connor’s Restaurant (Memorial Drive, Ahoskie) where the Citizens Against US 13 Ahoskie Bypass will conduct an organization meeting.

This meeting comes on the heels of a Nov. 13 workshop hosted by the North Carolina Department of Transportation at Roanoke-Chowan Community College. There, it was apparent that the majority of the 100-plus in attendance were not in favor of any of the proposed seven bypass routes around Ahoskie.

“We encourage anyone who opposes this unnecessary road as well as the unnecessary spending of taxpayer dollars to attend the Dec. 4 meeting,” Garry Terry, a Powellsville landowner affected by the bypass, said. “We need to organize and let our voices be heard that there is no need for this bypass.”

Terry said he had received confirmation that Allen Page, State Director of FreedomWorks, will attend the meeting. FreedomWorks, led by former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey, touts its ability to reach opinion leaders and elected officials with innovative policy ideas and effective strategies for change.

There are seven potential bypass routes. Five of those routes run north-to-south on the east side of Ahoskie, impacting such communities as Little California, Brantley’s Grove, Brinkleyville, Hall’s Siding Road, Ahoskie-Cofield Road, Newsome Grove Road and the Harrellsville Highway (NC 561 East). All totaled, 344 homes and 30 businesses lie within the possible path of the bypass.

Meanwhile, two other alternate routes swing west of Ahoskie along a north-south corridor. Those routes would affect Poortown, NC 42 West, Johnny Mitchell Road, Jernigan Airport Road, Lee Jernigan Road and Williford Road. Combined, those routes would displace 79 homes and 17 businesses.

All of the possible routes will funnel into Powellsville.

The $111.25 million project includes $8.85 million for right-of-way purchase. DOT officials have said the right-of-way acquisition is scheduled for 2012. The remaining $102.4 million for construction is currently unfunded in the state’s Transportation Improvement Plan. At the earliest, construction, once funded, would not begin until at least 2015.