Brian Burch

Brian Burch

By Dave Russell

 

N.C. Department of Transportation Division 14 Engineer Brian Burch said his department had received the Asheville Design Center report on R-5600 but had not fully digested it yet.

“We’re comparing the report to an earlier draft version they sent to see if anything has changed,” he said. “Some of the things that they recommended are things that likely will be incorporated.”

The DOT will look at the landscaping recommendations, he said.

“The landscaping plan is something that is done pretty much at the end of the design,” he said.

Pedestrian amenities, such as striping and where to place crossings, recommended in the report don’t require a commitment yet.

“Those are features that we would consider and we would incorporate,” Burch said. “We just have not gotten to that point in the design.”

Burch said that changing lane widths from 12 to 11 feet to allow for a buffer between the vehicle and bicycle lanes is still on the table.

DOT plans to meet with the town of Sylva and the Southwestern Rural Planning Organization before moving ahead with ADC’s ideas, Burch said.

“We need to go through those elements and recommendations and say, ‘OK, let’s look at it, how do we want to address it?’” Burch said.

Decisions on the pedestrian amenities and landscaping would likely be made in about two years, or right before the construction is set to begin, he said.