State awards $5.3M for paving in county

N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) announced Tuesday that state funds will pay for the resurfacing of 19 stretches of Catawba County roadway this year.

N.C. Secretary of Transportation Gene Conti awarded a $5.3 million contract to Maymead Inc. of Mountain City, Tenn., to resurface short sections of roads that run through Newton, Conover, Hickory, Claremont and Maiden.

NCDOT says work can begin as early as March 15 and be completed by Nov. 15.
The $5.3 million is state money rooted in gas taxes and other funds, said Jerry Higgins, communications officer for NCDOT.

"A lot of these are secondary roads, but some are highly traveled patches,” he said. “A lot of it is basic paving that is due. If you don't maintain them, there will be further problems down the road."

The project will resurface a total of about 35 miles of roadway, including 6.1 miles of St. James/Mays Chapel Road from U.S. 321 Business to N.C. 10, and 4.5 miles of U.S. 321 from N.C. 127 to the bridge over the Henry Fork River.

Other stretches of roadway that will be resurfaced include:

• 3 miles of U.S. 321 Business in Maiden from the Lincoln County line to Providence Mill Road
• 2.4 miles of Lee Cline Road in St. Stephens from County Home Road to Houston Mill Road
• 2.4 miles of Spencer Road in Hickory from Old U.S. 70 to 25th Street NE
• 2.4 miles of Kiesler Dairy Road in Claremont from Travis Road to Old Catawba Road
• 1.9 miles of Smyre Farm Road in Catawba County from St. James Church Road to N.C. 16
• 1.8 miles of C&B Farm Road in St. Stephens from Lee Cline Road to N.C. 16
• 1.6 miles of Jack Whitener Road in Dulan from Prison Camp Road to Mays Chapel Church Road
• 1.6 miles of Highland Avenue in Hickory from Startown Road to 8th Avenue NE
• 1.4 miles of 4th Street in Conover from N.C. 16 to Industrial Drive
• 1.2 miles of 16th Street NE in Hickory from 12th Avenue/Street NE to 8th Street Drive
• 1.1 miles of 4th Avenue SW in Hickory from U.S. 70 to 3rd Avenue

NCDOT’s resurfacing projects are an annual endeavor across the state.
Roads are selected for paving through a hierarchal point system that ranks the different streets for priority. Characteristics such as the number of homes on a street, school and church locations, and Average Daily Traffic (ADT) count are all taken into account through the ranking system.

This contract is one of 30 statewide that total about $82.6 million.

Since Gov. Bev Perdue took office in January 2009, NCDOT has awarded 471 highway contracts totaling $3.6 billion.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, every $1 million spent on transportation creates 30 jobs, and according to the construction industry, every dollar invested in transportation generates $6 in economic impact.

John Tippett, planner for the Western Piedmont Council of Governments, said the resurfacing projects are a necessity to maintain infrastructure.

“Not only does it make the road safer, but if you let a road go too long, your base and other factors can be damaged and cost a lot to fix,” Tippett said. “It’s like maintaining a house. If you take care of it before it gets too bad, you get the bang for your buck, so to speak.”

Catawba County Commissioner Barbara Beatty said a lot of the selected roads needed re-paving. As a county commissioner, Beatty said she has submitted citizens' concerns and requests about roads to the NCDOT in the past. She said she was pleased to hear that state money is helping better the roads in the county.

“I’m really excited about the road paving project because of the jobs it will bring to Catawba County,” Beatty said.

“Someone will be driving the trucks and someone’s asphalt will be used to do the roads.”

The O-N-E Editor Matthew Tessnear contributed to this report.