UPDATE: To get updates on the N. Highland Lake Road project, go to the Village of Flat Rock website page on the North Highland Lake Road Project.
The Flat Rock Village Council voted to request NCDOT abandon the N. Highland Lake Road project at their December 12, 2019, meeting. The council passed Resolution 219, adopting formal language for that vote, on December 30, 2019. The French Broad River Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Board at their vote on January 23, 2020, denied the Village’s request. While the project is continuing, the Flat Rock Village Council is working with NCDOT to mitigate damage caused by the project as much as possible.
N. Highland Lake Road (SR 1783): NCDOT STIP project no. U-5887 / SPOT ID H111093
Cost: $9.57M as of June 2021; original NCDOT estimate: $2.62M
NCDOT 90% plan, released August 6, 2020
NCDOT 75% plan, released June 2019. (90% plan due May 2020)
NCDOT 25% plan, released January 2019. (75% plan due May 2019 and 90% plan due May 2020)
NCDOT plan, released October 12, 2018.
NCDOT did not initiate this project, and the Flat Rock village council has the ability to stop it. Check out our series on the impact this road project will have.
The Flat Rock village council put together a FAQ sheet on the road project. Check out our series on FAQ inconsistencies.
Linked below are the NCDOT plans for N. Highland Lake Road presented at the public meeting on Oct 17, 2017. Both plans have the same road configuration changes with the only difference being the choice of pedestrian facility:
- U-5887 alternative 1: shows a multi-use path (10 ft wide)
- U-5887 alternative 2: shows a sidewalk (5 ft wide)
Illustrations from NCDOT:
Information from the UNC School of Government on North Carolina public records right of access can be found here.
- Initial right-of-way acquisition to begin summer 2019 with construction complete in 2022
- Schedule has accelerated to begin right-of-way acquisition summer 2018 with construction complete in 2021. [UPDATE: According to NCDOT, the date for the start of right-of-way acquisition has changed to June 2019.]
Concerns (read our official position statement):
- Given a priority value of “0” by NCDOT
- Not a safety or congestion issue according to NCDOT
- Misuse of taxpayer money for nonessential project
- Using NCDOT’s rate of growth for the road (1.5% annually), given the current average annualized daily traffic (AADT), it would take almost 60 years before N. Highland Lake Road reaches capacity
- Takes property from private property owners for a nonessential project
- Puts Pinecrest Presbyterian Church and other businesses at risk
- Cuts down numerous trees
- Does not reflect current data on negative implications of road widening
- Affects decisions on future road projects—if this project goes forward, pressure increases on Greenville Highway and other roads throughout the village. In the recent past, Little River Road, Rutledge Drive, Greenville Highway, and W. Blue Ridge have all been on NCDOT project lists. If N. Highland Lake Road needs to be “improved,” then these do as well according to NCDOT. Once the village has agreed to “improving” N. Highland Lake Road, it will be much harder to oppose these other projects.
- Flat Rock is not a suburb of Hendersonville—we are an historic rural community that must be protected against unnecessary encroachment.
- We are primarily a resort/rural community that wants to maintain the character of our village. Creating a cut-through for the rest of Henderson County on N. Highland Lake Road destroys a substantial part of that character.
- NCDOT has failed to follow their own design guidelines for context sensitive solutions on this project.
- The village bought the park property in part to protect one of the main entrances into Flat Rock. This road project undercuts that rationale.
- Flat Rock rebuts arguments of widening project foes (Mar 19, 2018)
- Historic Flat Rock calls for timeout on roadwork (Mar 16, 2018)
- Revised plans for Kanuga, Highland Lake pushed back to spring (Dec 7, 2017)
- DOT to scale back Kanuga widening (Nov 25, 2017)
- Highland Lake Road widening draws concerns (Oct 18, 2017)
- Historic Flat Rock pans road widening; drop-in event postponed (Sept 8, 2017)