Work to begin mid-March
At last month’s Town Board meeting, Mayor Pat Taylor summarized NC DOT’s plan for milling, paving and striping Main and north and south 4th streets with work to begin mid-March.
Taylor said meetings with DOT have gone very well and they are trying to accommodate Highlands’ needs, but “they made it very clear that Main and 4th streets are state roads and will be done to their standards their way.”
A few years ago when paving Main Street first came up, the plan was to do one side of the street at a time so traffic could travel on one side while work was done on the other side.
But by closing down segments of Main block to block and working Monday-Friday for 24-hour periods on each section the job will be exponentially sped up, said DOT.
So, throughout the month-long process, milling will be done at night and paving will be done during the day with traffic rerouted as needed to Oak and Maple and to 5th and Spring streets.
Beginning mid-March all the intersections will be milled and will stay that way, unpaved, until that area is paved as scheduled.
Phase 1 will begin with the milling of both sides of Main from 1st to 2nd street at night, which will be “very loud and noisy,” said the Mayor.
The next day, with detours still in place, that same area will be paved. When that’s done, the street will be lined except for the parking spaces.
This process for all five phases will be repeated each 24-hour period for 2nd to 3rd streets (phase 2); then 3rd to 4th streets (phase 3); 4th to 5th streets (phase 4) and finally 5th street to the end of the Main Street past Mountain Fresh and the library (phase 5).
The entire Main Street operation – phases 1-5 – is expected to run March 15-23.
Mayor Taylor said DOT intends to stripe the parking spaces on Main from 1st – 5th to their standards which will include current ADA requirements for not only the number of handicap spaces but the size of the spaces.
He said the number of parking spaces may be impacted but if so, minimally, and Highlands has no choice in the matter.
Phase 6 – 4th Street from Main to Maple streets is set for March 23-24 with milling to be done at night; paving during the day as on Main Street with traffic detoured.
Phase 7 – 4th Street from Main to the NC 28 intersection, which DOT is also re-designing, will be done the following week with the entire downtown business district expected to be done early April.
More than a decade ago, Old Ed-wards Hospitality Group contracted with Pesterfield Engineering to redesign the 4th Street/NC 28 intersection. DOT opted not to pursue the issue at that time, but Mayor Taylor said DOT now plans on using that plan and has begun work in that area.
DOT plans to mill, pave and stripe NC 28 to Clear Creek Road and 4th Street from Maple Street to Buck Creek Road during the summer.
For those phases, one lane will be done at a time so traffic can flow unimpeded.
By Kim Lewicki, Highlands Newspaper