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Project Fast Facts
  • County: Transylvania
  • Type of Project:
    Roadway Improvement
  • STIP Number: R-2594
  • Estimated Cost:
    Estimated at $127-145 million
N.C. 215 Improvements Logo

NOTE: Based on the results of NCDOT’s funding formula, this project was not funded in the 2016-2025 State Transportation Improvement Plan, and studies have concluded for the time being. If the project is funded at a later date, updates will be posted to this page.

Description

The North Carolina Department of Transportation proposes safety improvements to N.C. 215 from U.S. 64 at Cherryfield to Macedonia Church Road (SR 1326) in Transylvania County. This 5.9-mile portion is a narrow, curvy, two-lane mountain roadway located partly within the Pisgah National Forest and is part of the Forest Heritage National Scenic Byway.

Currently, N.C. 215 in this area is characterized by numerous curves and restricted sight distance. The sharpest curves reach a maximum of 75 degrees. While the posted speed limit is 35 mph, current design speeds range from 15 to 35 mph.

The purpose of the project is to improve safety – not to provide capacity for additional traffic.

This project, however, was not funded in the 2016-2025 State Transportation Improvement Plan, and studies have concluded for the time being. If the project is funded at a later date, updates will be posted to this page.

News and Updates

Based on the results of NCDOT’s funding formula, this project was not funded in the 2015-2026 State Transportation Improvement Plan, and studies have concluded for the time being. If the project is funded at a later date, updates will be posted to this page.

Completed activities on the N.C. 215 project include:

  • Noise report (March 2014)
  • Added improve existing minimization alternative (July 2014)
  • Visual impacts assessment (March 2015)
  • Constructability report (March 2015)
  • Local officials meeting (February 25, 2014)
  • Safety review of proposed design revisions (February 2014)

Project Overview and Purpose

At the time that this project became unfunded in the 2016-2015 2025 State Transportation Improvement Plan, NCDOT was working on a draft environmental impact statement for safety improvements between U.S. 64, just north of the town of Rosman, to Macedonia Church Road (SR 1326), just south of the community of Balsam Grove – a distance of about 5 miles.

The existing N.C. 215 runs north to south and has 8-foot travel lanes with many sharp curves. The shoulders are narrow or lacking. Area residents have expressed concern with emergency vehicles and school buses using the existing road because these larger vehicles cannot easily stay within the narrow lanes.

Four “build” alternatives were under consideration for the proposed improvements:

  • Two alternatives to relocate N.C. 215 on a new location (Alternatives 3a and 3b)
  • Improve existing N.C. 215 in its current location
  • Improve existing N.C. 215 in its current location with a smaller roadway footprint (typical section).

The No-Build Alternative was also under review, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act.

The project alternatives pass through portions of the Pisgah National Forest, which is maintained by the U.S. Forest Service. N.C. 215 is part of the Forest Heritage National Scenic Byway and is a popular route for tourists.

Based on discussions with the U.S. Forest Service and a review of the anticipated future traffic on NC 215, NCDOT and the Federal Highway Administration agreed to revise the project typical section (roadway profile) to 11-foot lanes with 6-foot shoulders – the first 2 feet of which will be paved for the Alternatives 3a and 3b and the Improve Existing Alternative.

An Improve Existing Minimization Alternative was added in 2014. This alternative would widen existing N.C. 215 to 10-foot lanes with 3-foot shoulders, the first two feet of which would be paved. This alternative was added as a context-sensitive solution due to extraordinary site constraints, including USFS land, area topography, and the proximity to the North Fork French Broad River.

Figure 1 - Project Vicinity Map        Figure 2 - Project Alternatives Map


Contact Information

  • Angela Sanderson
    Project Development Engineer

    Email: Contact Us
    Phone: (919) 707-6042
    Address:
    1548 Mail Service Center
    Raleigh, NC 27699-1548

  • Kevin Moore, P.E.
    Roadway Design Engineer

    Email: Contact Us
    Phone: (919) 707-6287
    Address:
    1582 Mail Service Center
    Raleigh NC 27699-1582

  • Brian Burch, P.E.
    Division Construction Engineer

    Email: Contact Us
    Phone: (828) 586-2141
    Address:
    253 Webster Road
    Sylva, NC 28779

Resources for Local Property Owners

In many cases, it is inevitable that a certain amount of private property must be acquired. The displacement of homes and businesses is minimized to the extent practicable. The following brochures will answer questions about this process.