The N. Highland Lake Road project (NCDOT project no. U-5887) was not initiated by NCDOT and the Flat Rock village council has the power to stop it.
The first eight parts of this series looked at each specific section of the road separately, but part 9 reviews the total impact of the road project on the affected properties and the village overall.
Some might ask, “What’s the big deal? It’s just a road.” But while this road is important, it’s not just about this road, but about every road in the village because this affects how every future road project will be handled in Flat Rock. Allowing this project to move forward when it is unnecessary puts every property owner in the village at risk.
As one of the gateways into the village, N. Highland Lake Road projects a sense of place–quiet, pastoral, natural. By widening the road, dampening the curves, and adding concrete medians, this gateway becomes just another suburban road, rushing cars and people through the landscape with no thought or appreciation of the place they are moving through.
While NCDOT says that they have no additional plans for the area at this time, many residents of the village are concerned that widening N. Highland Lake Road is the first step in resurrecting an earlier plan to create a southern loop for the county: “That will be the beginning of a plan to run N. Highland Lake Road across the Greenville Highway to connect to Kanuga Road and make a thoroughfare-bypass around Hendersonville.” Will that happen? No one knows.
Some things that we do know will happen with this project are:
- Loss of over 186 trees on the north side of the road alone
- Impact on businesses and Pinecrest Presbyterian Church that is damaging, far-reaching, and possibly terminal
- Increase in traffic speed (traffic studies show again and again that widening a road to 12 feet or more per lane causes traffic to move faster, making the road less safe–current lane width on N. Highland Lake Road is 11 feet)
- Waste of taxpayer money
- Taking of private property for a nonessential purpose
All of this for a project that NCDOT gave a value of “0” for priority and that NCDOT acknowledges will not upgrade how the road functions.
On the map above:
- Grey: existing roadway
- Orange: existing roadway to be resurfaced
- Yellow: proposed new roadway
- Thick red line to the north of the road: multi-use path
- Thin red line: curb and gutter
- Light green: proposed new NCDOT right-of-way
- Light green area with diagonal lines: proposed new NCDOT easement for drainage, construction, and utility systems
- Dark green: existing right-of-way
This map shows the historic district line incorrectly–the line actually goes down the middle of the road (NCDOT has been presented with the correct historic district boundary for Flat Rock’s designation on the National Register of Historic Places).