Bypass foes address commissioners

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 7, 2008

WINDSOR – Those against the US 13 Bypass have made their opinions known to the Bertie County Commissioners.

Two people representing the Citizens Against the Ahoskie Bypass group spoke during the public comments portions of the commissioners meeting here Monday morning.

Additionally, a representative from the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) was present and spoke offering reassurances.

Gary Terry, of US 13 N., Ahoskie, was one of the citizens who spoke against the bypass.

&uot;We feel like there’s being injustice done; a bypass to Windsor is unnecessary and would severely disrupt farming,&uot; Terry began.

He continued, &uot;We suggest four-laning Highway 11… that could be done instead without disrupting lives.&uot;

Terry listed numerous local businesses who support a four-lane Highway 11.

He suggested, &uot;The existing 13 could still come to Windsor, but you could rename Highway 11 into 13 and make that the bypass of Ahoskie and then Bertie County would still have as many miles of four lane road.&uot;

During the second public comments session of the meeting, Kent Williams, Co-Chair of Terry’s group, also listed his concerns.

&uot;I am very concerned that people in Bertie County have not been informed that the DOT is putting through (this project) without the knowledge of Bertie County citizens. People do not know,&uot; he stressed.

Williams said he had spent the last two weeks in Bertie County and had yet to find a person telling him they’d been officially informed.

&uot;People in this county have the right to know what they might be living with, be it four years from now or 10 years from now,&uot; he stated.

Terry spoke up again and added, &uot;Going back to my earlier comments, I can’t see any economic reason for the bypass.&uot;

He continued, &uot;A lot of homes would be torn down and there’s a better alternative that would serve the region well, not just the Ahoskie area, but also Bertie County.&uot;

Speaking up from the NCDOT, Kim Gelespe came forward.

&uot;I’ve been working on the Ahoskie bypass project… I’ve spoken with Mr. Terry and Mr. Williams and I understand they were saying there were some people who did not get notified,&uot; she stated.

Gelespe continued, &uot;We did send out over a thousand letters to people in the area to let them know we were considering this project. We used GIS to get information on the affected people and we are still in the process of getting information.&uot;

Gelespe said the DOT is looking to improve economic development in the area and traffic flow on US 13.

&uot;We are also looking to do that by not affecting as many people or endangered species or historical properties as possible. We are still studying alternates to see the impact on the area,&uot; she added.

The commissioners took no action and made no comments on the matter.