No Bypass#8217; group gains key ally By Cal Bryant 01/23/2008 WINTON – Two Bertie County men found support in Hertford County here Tuesday night. Addressing the Hertford County Board of Commissioners,

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 23, 2008

WINTON – Two Bertie County men found support in Hertford County here Tuesday night.

Addressing the Hertford County Board of Commissioners, Kent Williams and Garry Terry of Powellsville came seeking support from the county’s elected leadership in regards to a movement to halt the Department of Transportation’s plans to build a US 13 bypass of Ahoskie.

Standing in the hallway outside the meeting room following their presentation, the men said they were pleased with the comments made by the commissioners.

“I was encouraged from what I heard tonight,” said Williams of Citizens Against 13 Bypass. “They have stayed on top of this issue and are well informed.”

Terry said he felt recent allegations made by bypass supporter Mayor Bob Spivey of Windsor that the “No Bypass” group was spreading misinformation about the DOT project were correctly addressed by the Hertford County Commissioners.

“You heard what Mr. (Curtis) Freeman said in there; he knows we’re telling the truth about the bypass plans,” Terry noted.

He was making reference to Freeman’s comments concerning a gathering held earlier this month in Ahoskie by the bypass opponents. Freeman along with Hertford County Commission Chairman Howard Hunter III attended that Jan. 8 meeting.

“I noticed at the meeting that everything you said was backed-up by the DOT lady who was also there,” Freeman said. “That leads me to believe that what you are presenting (to the public) is truthful.”

During his presentation, Williams said after tackling this issue at the local and state level, he understood that it would take more than small number of people to halt the bypass plans.

“Six people cannot break down the (DOT) brick wall, but 10,000 can,” Williams said. “We’re here asking for your support. You stand in front and we’ll push you through that wall.”

Williams went on to say that a bypass is exactly that…a high speed route around town.

“It might cut off a few minutes of driving time, but it is a longer way around,” he said. “But the biggest impact is that it takes traffic away from the town’s places of business while causing people outside of town who live in the bypass right-of-way to lose their homes and, in some cases, their livelihood.”

Williams said his group has a better plan.

“Highway 11 makes more sense, it benefits Hertford County more than Highway 13,” Williams noted. “Traveling Highway 11 saves time, money and gas and DOT has the statistics to prove that. Plus, Highway 11, according to the DOT figures, not our figures, has 56 percent more traffic than Highway 13.”

The sticking point in this issue is that the money for the Ahoskie bypass is included in a DOT project earmarked only for US 13. The “No Bypass” group has hatched a plan to use that money to widen, to four lanes, NC 11 south of Ahoskie. But to do that they know they have to tap into the US 13 funding.

“What we want to do and what we’re asking for you to do is approve a resolution renaming Highway 13 as the Highway 11/13 Alternate,” Williams said. “Our forefathers, some 35 years ago, purchased the right-of-way along Highway 11 in case it would be widened to four lanes one day. Well, that day is now.”

Terry said the NC 11 project would be a way to save taxpayer dollars.

“We understand that the Mayor of Windsor wants an Ahoskie bypass,” Terry said. “We’re going to help him get it. It’s just going to Oak City instead of Windsor.”

Freeman, joined by Commissioner Johnny Ray Farmer, encouraged the “No Bypass” group to continue their efforts.

“With the combination of the commissioners and your group, I feel we can get something done,” Freeman said.

“Keep the noise going; you might just get what you’re asking for,” Farmer noted.

While the commissioners just listened on Tuesday night and no mention was made concerning the request for a resolution of support, Williams and Terry left on a “high note” from Hunter.

“We appreciate all the hard work you are doing for the citizens of Hertford County,” Hunter told the Bertie County duo.