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Secondary roads to be paved

June 30, 2011

Multiple gravel and dirt roads in the area will be paved during the next year, but it is still unclear which streets will get the makeover.

Catawba County commissioners recently accepted a state transportation presentation that outlined proposed paving opportunities in the county.

The state’s Board of Transportation will give the final approval of the plans next month.

“Every couple of years, we do a number of surveys that determine which roads need to be paved,” said Jackie McSwain, district engineer for the N.C. Department of Transportation.

She added that roads are chosen by paving priority, or the characteristics that are evaluated to determine which road needs paving first. Characteristics include the number of homes, schools, churches, businesses, industries and recreational facilities on a certain road, according to the NCDOT’s website.

Other items evaluated are the presence of school bus traffic, the Average Daily Traffic (ADT) count and the thoroughfare classification.

A number of points are assigned to each characteristic and a point total is obtained. All unpaved roads in a county are assigned a paving priority number based on a points system. The road with the highest number of points receives a priority of one and becomes the first road to be considered for paving, according to the website.

McSwain said the state mandates that the roads be prioritized by numbers, adding the No. 1 and No. 2 priority roads are the ones the NCDOT plans to work on. Rural and subdivision streets are prioritized.

In Catawba County, Powell Road and Fighting Creek Road are the No. 1 and No. 2 priority roads to be paved. They are both in the town of Catawba. Cobbs Drive, also in Catawba, is the No. 3 priority road and is the “alternate” if NCDOT cannot get the right of way, McSwain said.

Barefoot Road in Catawba and Crabapple Street in Conover are the top two priority subdivision secondary roads in Catawba County.

“It all depends on the allocations we get,” McSwain said, adding that the priority lists and paving plans can change depending on how much money the state allocates.

The NCDOT accepts paving requests from the public, but several requirements must be met that include:

For paved subdivision roads:
The road must be located within a public right of way. The width of the required right of way will vary with given road characteristics. Next, the road must have a minimum of four occupied homes and an average of two occupied homes per 10th of mile. The road must have adequate drainage and be in an acceptable state of maintenance as determined by a county district engineer.

For unpaved subdivision roads:
The road must have been in existence prior to Oct. 1, 1975. Next, the road must have a minimum of four occupied homes and an average of two occupied homes per 10th of mile. The road must have adequate drainage and be in an acceptable state of maintenance as determined by a county district engineer.

For rural roads:
Residents concerned about these roads are asked to speak with the NCDOT district office for Catawba County.

For more information, contact the NCDOT’s secondary roads office at (919) 733-3250.

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