By Dave Russell


State transportation officials say the number of Sylva businesses facing possible relocation in the face of construction along N.C. 107 and U.S. 23 Business has been shaved from an estimated 55 to 39.

N.C. Department of Transportation officials announced the new number Tuesday, during a public meeting with local leaders.

Just before going to press Wednesday, the Herald obtained a list from NCDOT under the N.C. Public Records law; however, the information did not clearly specify which businesses are involved. The Herald will publish a followup article next week.

NCDOT officials cautioned they want business owners to understand the list of specific names remains in flux and does not necessarily dictate relocation. In some cases, businesses might lose parking, but elect to remain in their present locations, NCDOT employee Josh Deyton said.

The rights-of-way impacts are a predicted 186 parcels, including five residential properties, 39 businesses and 30 signs.

“This does not account for utilities, which will likely have additional impacts,” Division 14 leader Brian Burch told local leaders on Tuesday. 

He said he would “be shocked” if the number of relocations declined additionally.

The total cost of the rights-of-way acquisition, scheduled to begin in January, is projected to be $49.7 million. 

Offers will be based on appraisals, Burch said.

“If the property owner is not willing to settle for that amount, then we can condemn the property and go through the condemnation process,” he said.

Plans are 65 percent complete, according to the NCDOT leader.

Construction is expected to start in February 2023 and last for three years.

NCDOT plans to eliminate the center turn lane on N.C. 107 in favor of a 17.5-foot grass median, separating the southbound traffic and northbound traffic, with sidewalks replaced and a 5-foot bike lane added.

Upgrades are slated for the N.C. 107/U.S. 23 Business intersection, and from U.S. 23 Business to Dillardtown Road and Municipal Drive, near the Sylva Fire Department.