Do we really need a freeway?

Published 8:23 am Tuesday, August 12, 2014

To the Editor:

On June 9 of this year, the North Carolina Department of Transportation did a very good job of presenting the four alternative options for the newly planned Highway 11/13 improvement project (which will widen those roads to four lanes between the Ahoskie Inn and Winton).

NCDOT and the Hertford County Commissioners are trying to make our roads safer, an effort I totally support.

Of the four alternatives, we were informed by the DOT representatives that Alternative One was highly favored.

Alternative One is a freeway design, which means no access (from adjoining roads) to US 13 or NC 11 except at the major interchanges. This means that NC 461, Hall Siding Road, Saluda Hall Road, Modlin Hatchery Road, and Bonner Bridge Road will dead end at their current day intersections with either NC 11 or US 13.

If Alternative One is used, we will have only two access points to NC 11 or US 13 over the ten-miles from the US 158 intersection at Winton, south to NC 42 at Pleasant Grove Gardens.

With this Alternative, NCDOT is planning interchanges to be constructed at NC 11 / NC 561 (near the Ahoskie Inn) and NC 11 / US 13 / Shortcut Road (the old 11 & 11 intersection).

My question is will this create traffic problems, especially for the school-bound traffic coming in on NC 561 as well as on US 13 through Ahoskie? School buses, large trucks, farm machinery, and daily commuter traffic will all be funneled through Ahoskie via NC 561 and US 13. That, in my opinion, could cause delays as well as extra time and mileage for emergency vehicles and local traffic.

The new four-lane road (US 158) now under construction in Hertford County between the east end of the Murfreesboro Bypass and Winton is not designed as a freeway; nor is the four-lane project now being constructed in Gates County. The four-lane part of NC 11 between Bethel and Greenville is not a freeway as there are multiple access points to that road.

Does our rural area need a freeway, one that severely limits the access points that our local citizens have to OUR new highway?

The final alternative design is scheduled to be selected in the winter of 2014. I am confident that NCDOT, the Hertford County Commissioners and the support from local input will come up with the best solution for our area.

I pray blessings on all who are designing and constructing, and for those who will be using OUR new highway.

Wayne Lassiter