Troutman’s Town Board briefings, which are open to the public and held several days prior to the board’s monthly meetings, usually are routine, as the staff reviews items on the upcoming calendar with the aldermen.
This month’s briefing proved a bit more unusual, as N.C. Department of Transportation officials Mike Holder and Patrick Norman attended the Dec.10 meeting to hear from town officials.
There were plenty of concerns for Holder and Norman, both DOT engineers, to take back to their bosses.
As with any discussion of Troutman traffic, the conversation quickly focused on U.S. 21. Several board members were quick to note that this heavily traveled state road dissects the town.
“I’m especially concerned about the truck traffic coming through Troutman,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Spath, seeking to find out if there was any way the trucks could bypass the town’s Main Street.
“I’m not sure if there is anything we can do, but we will certainly take a look and see if we can do some re-routing, especially with the trucks,” said Holder.
Also pertaining to U.S. 21/Main Street, Police Chief Matthew Selves inquired about a long-sought study that could result in the addition of a middle turning lane in the vicinity of Kerr Drugs and Food Lion on the north side of the town.
“I think such a lane could really help the traffic flow up there,” Selves said.
Norman said there were a number of studies that awaited funding, but he promised to check back and see if the N.C. DOT could prioritize the request.
Mayor Elbert Richardson addressed the jump in the town’s population during school days.
“We’ve got four schools in town, and when they are open, we have much more traffic activity within our borders, including the buses, parents picking up their children and youngsters walking home,” he said. “So it’s not completely accurate to use just the town’s census population when you prioritize traffic projects for Troutman.”
The aldermen also inquired about the landscaping programs the N.C. DOT has at other exits on Interstate 77, both south and north of town.
“Those landscaping efforts are usually maintained by the local municipalities, not the DOT, once we develop an agreement,” said Holder.
The engineers promised to get back to the town with more information.
“We’re glad you came out here today and gave us some straight info,” Spath said. “Bottom line is, the citizens are going to ask us about these issues and we need to have the answers.”
Dave Vieser is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Dave? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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