The Stokes County Board of Commissioners is petitioning the North Carolina Department of Transportation to immediately start work on widening Hwy. 8 from Piney Grove Church Road to the Virginia state line, citing a variety of safety concerns.
Commissioner Ernest Lankford told the board Monday that the time was right to revisit the issue because the state was currently working on repaving that section of the road. He noted that paving had been halted by DOT, possibly to allow time to consider expanding the road.
“We have been working on getting this safety issue resolved for years,” he said. “There are a lot of logging trucks and feed trucks, two of our largest employers and businesses in the northern part of the county, on that road. The first resolution we put up for DOT to work on this was in February 2007. Every year it gets pulled off because of lack of funding.
“We feel that we need some attention paid to it and we hope this will give some attention to the need,” he added.
An official resolution passed by the board asks the state to consider a three phase approach to improving the road.
The first requested phase would involve widening the road by six inches from Piney Grove Church Road to the Virginia state line as the current resurfacing project is being done.
The second requested phase would place the expansion of Hwy. 8 to 12-foot lanes along the same section on the North Carolina Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) with adequate funding, and the final requested phase would place the expansion of Hwy 8 to 12-foot lanes from Meadows to Piney Grove Church Road on the TIP with adequate funding.
“We have a wonderful opportunity right now to get this fixed,” said Commissioner Leon Inman, noting that Rep. Bryan Holloway had been in contact with several commissioners recommending they send the resolution now while the road is being resurfaced and the state is debating highway funding. “Let’s get it done.”
Nicholas Elmes may be reached at 336-591-8191 or on Twitter @NicholasElmes.