State highway officials have chosen an alternate route for the planned straightening of Pitts School Road, scrapping their original choice, which would have split the more-than-century-old Barbee Farms.
The decision came at a "post-hearing" meeting of officials from various divisions of the N.C. Department of Transportation last week in Raleigh.
Jamille Robbins of the DOT in Raleigh said the alternate plan includes a curve in the road but is still a safe option.
The meeting followed a public hearing in October, at which numerous Charlotte-area residents urged the N.C. DOT to choose the alternate route, which will have far less impact on the Barbee farm and nearby Bonds family farms.
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DOT's original route would have claimed the Barbee family's old homestead and cut through Tommy Barbee's best-producing fields.
"Here is a family that has modeled a community ethic, one that is increasingly rare," Davidson College senior Kristina Johnson said at the hearing. "This is a family in which the younger generation has said time after time to their parents, 'We value the work you do, and we will sustain it.'"
"It's encouraging,"said Tommy Barbee's son Brent, who manages the farm, said of the state's decision to avoid sending the road straight through the family's farm.
The alternate route takes much less of of the farm's land, he said.
Robbins said the state will begin buying rights-of-way from property owners for the alternate route sometime in 2010.