Spivey believes bypass opponents are misinformed

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 11, 2008

WINDSOR – The proposed US 13 Bypass around Ahoskie is not a Windsor project.

Those were the words of Windsor Mayor Bob Spivey during Thursday’s town commissioner’s meeting.

According to Spivey, many bypass opponents have turned to pointing the finger at the town of Windsor as being the enemy.

&uot;I hate that this has turned into an anti-Windsor campaign. It’s not a Windsor project; it’s for all of eastern North Carolina,&uot; he stressed.

Emotions have run high over the last several weeks as the state Department of Transportation released its plans for the proposed bypass around Ahoskie.

A group made up of concerned citizens, mainly from the affected areas around Powellsville and Ahoskie, banded together to form the Citizens Against the Ahoskie Bypass.

They have campaigned against the bypass while simultaneously pushing for a four-lane NC 11 instead.

During Thursday’s meeting of the Windsor Commissioners, two town citizens came forward during the public comments session to voice thoughts on the bypass.

Margaret Riddick told the commissioners she thought there should be a public meeting to discuss both the proposed US 13 bypass and NC 11.

Spivey responded, &uot;If you get together a meeting, I will attend it and I feel certain this board would as well.&uot;

Riddick told the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald during a phone conversation on Friday that she was neither for nor against the bypass.

&uot;I just think there needs to be an informational meeting about it, that’s all,&uot; she stated.

Thursday, she also asked the board about the petition that is circulating in favor of the bypass.

&uot;Lots of people not from this area are asking about it and were wondering if anyone can sign,&uot; she inquired.

Spivey told her that anyone who feels the bypass will benefit them is eligible to sign. One copy of the petition is available to be signed at the Windsor Town Hall, located on King Street.

He added, &uot;We’re all aware that lots of things have been said (by bypass opponents) that are not true. There have been seeds of fear planted about people losing their churches or homes, but the truth is no one knows where it’s (the bypass) going to be.&uot;

Another citizen appeared later in the meeting and did not hear Spivey’s earlier comments.

&uot;I’m wondering what position Windsor and Bertie County take on this (the bypass),&uot; asked Tommy Ruffin.

Referring to the recent meeting of the Citizens Against the Ahoskie Bypass held at Hertford County High School, he continued, &uot;I went to a meeting in Ahoskie and was so disgusted that I left… I’m for the bypass.&uot;

Spivey remarked, &uot;So much of what you see in Ahoskie is people who have just been frightened, but the things they’ve been told aren’t true.&uot;

He added that Ahoskie is the only town left from Greenville to Virginia that hasn’t been bypassed.

Later, Spivey also said, &uot;It’s (the bypass) extremely important. Our position is that the (DOT) master plan ought to stay in place… to provide a safer, stronger highway system and to have a town that has it.&uot;

He continued, &uot;It’s not fair to take it away. To take our money that’s been allocated for this road and try to put it somewhere else is just wrong.&uot;

Furthermore, according to Spivey, as the law is written right now a switch in funds from US 13 to NC 11 is not possible.

&uot;Highway 11 doesn’t qualify for trust funds, and that’s what they’re trying to take from us along with federal funds,&uot; he said.

The state’s eventual goal after the bypass around Ahoskie is to also four-lane US 13 from Powellsville to Windsor, creating a more efficient means of travel.

&uot;These bypasses, they come very slowly through the years, but hopefully the stretch from Powellsville to Windsor will be funded one day… we’re talking 12 or more years though,&uot; Spivey concluded.

In months and years past, Spivey and the Town of Windsor, along with the Bertie County Commissioners, have been outspoken in favor of the Ahoskie bypass.

Ahoskie and Hertford County officials remained opposed to the idea.