From the Hendersonville Lightning:
The N.C. Department of Transportation recently awarded a contract to upgrade North Highland Lake Road with construction starting as soon as Oct. 1 — an amount that puts total project cost $7 million above engineers’ original projection.
In January of 2020, the French Broad River Metropolitan Planning Organization voted 15-1 in opposition to a request from the Village of Flat Rock to stop the project. Also that month, the Henderson County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to support the project, and the Henderson County Transportation Advisory Committee voted 8-1 to support the project. In both cases the lone no votes were cast by Flat Rock Vice Mayor Anne Coletta, who led a slate of candidates opposed to the road project to victory in the November 2019 village election.
The total project cost, the NCDOT told Coletta in response to her inquiry, is currently $9.57 million — $7 million more than the original $2.62 million estimate. Project costs include $1.27 million for engineering, $1.6 million for utility relocation and right of way and $6.7 million for construction.
“I think it’s disappointing for the taxpayers that NCDOT is continuing with this project, which the local Flat Rock community through its elected officials has requested be stopped,” Coletta said in an email. “This road project has increased from an initial cost estimate of $2.62 million to the current $9.57 million, a 265 percent increase. There are more worthwhile projects in Henderson County that are needed and wanted that this money should go towards. According to the state auditor’s office, NCDOT has a recent history of poor budgeting and oversight and, in my opinion, the North Highland Lake Road project is an example of this mismanagement.”. . .