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Wednesday, 01 June 2011 19:47

Commissioner right to question SCC road

Written by 

To the Editor:

Jackson County Commissioner Jack Debnam’s recent comments on the proposed SCC spur road are valid and show that he is willing to go to bat for Jackson County’s citizens despite opposition from DOT and other commissioners. He has shown that he will ask the difficult questions, even if his actions put him at odds with others who feel differently about the issue.

It appears that this particular project is receiving special attention from DOT despite much opposition from the community. Most agree that the safety of SCC students and staff is important, but logic and common sense need to be applied in this decision, not favoritism and good-old-boy networking.

I would suggest that the county and DOT look at this project in a different light, and attention be given to alternatives other than another big intrusive road project of questionable value. If emergency access is truly the reason for this project, then it would seem to me that short, simple emergency access roads could be built from SCC onto neighboring DOT and Armory property, which would provide two additional means of access at a fraction of the $13 million price tag.

If reducing traffic on N.C. 116 is the key factor, then we should look at relocating DOT offices and equipment storage to other places in the county where they wouldn’t be adding to the problems. I see little reason why we need these operations on N.C. 116, when offices can be located virtually anywhere and equipment could be stored along the major county routes that it is supposed to service. This would reduce traffic on 116 by around 10 percent in my estimation, provide plenty of room for emergency access and additional room for the future needs of an expanding community college.

We need to look at some creative alternatives and address the really key issues that affect the county’s traffic concerns, not simply offer more pavement and expensive fly-over bridges to move the county forward.

John Beckman

Cullowhee

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