Northampton supports DOT project on NC 46

Published 4:23 pm Tuesday, April 9, 2024

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JACKSON – The Northampton County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution of support for a potential NCDOT project during their regular meeting on Monday, April 1.

Brooks Braswell, the NCDOT Project Development Engineer for Division 1, presented the information to the board before they made their decision. The area in question is a section of Highway 46 in front of the WestRock Trailer Yard, located right outside of the Gaston town limits.

“We have identified this area as having some safety concerns that we would like to alleviate,” Braswell explained.

Trucks frequently turn off the highway to reach the trailer yard, and Braswell noted that there are often so many trucks that it causes traffic to back up. He said there have been a handful of accidents – mostly vehicle rear-ends and sideswipes – over the past 10 years, but they wanted to prevent major accidents from happening in the future.

The project proposal is to install a left-turn lane in the northbound direction of Highway 46. They may also consider adding a right-turn lane into the facility from the southbound lane as well.

Braswell explained that there may be “High Impact/Low Cost” funds available from the NCDOT, but securing the support of the commissioners would be the first step in seeking those state funds. He also said the estimated cost for the project is around $820,000. There would be no cost to the county.

Following the presentation, the commissioners agreed that there is a safety concern in that stretch of the highway due to the heavy truck traffic.

“Safety is a priority,” stated Commissioner Kelvin Edwards.

Commissioner Melvetta Broadnax Taylor asked if the NCDOT had a timeline for the project and when it would be scheduled to begin. Braswell said he will ask for the state funding in May, and then the project would have to be designed and bid out before construction would actually begin.

He estimated it could take 9-12 months before that happened.

Commissioner Ed Martin motioned to approve the resolution of support, and Broadnax Taylor seconded. The vote was unanimously in favor among those present at the meeting. Commissioner Geneva Faulkner was unable to attend.