Have you noticed an increase in road projects over the last several months? This is the time of year when paving happens. Paving tends to do better when it goes down in the hot summer months; it doesn’t adhere as well when it is cold outside.
Municipalities, along with the NC Department of Transportation, make plans throughout the year for projects to happen during a small window of opportunity each calendar year. The Town of Mocksville receives Powell Bill funding, which comes from the gas tax each of us pays when we fill our tanks, to pave streets within the city limits of our town. The Mocksville Town Board has commissioned a study to rank streets and sidewalks for paving and maintenance.
A DOT engineer, who is an expert on roads and paving, heads up this study. Each municipality receives funding based on the number of street miles within the city limits. The NCDOT provides paving for county roads outside of the towns based on the recommendations of the same DOT engineers. The paving projects are completed by paving contractors, not by town employees. Town employees may patch city streets, but do not have the equipment for road surfacing and asphalt paving projects.
Large projects like widening, adding turning lanes, new sidewalks, and roundabouts are typically headed up by the NCDOT. They determine where projects are to happen and oversee the entire project: from right of way acquisition, to bidding, to project oversight and to project completion.
Once the project is complete DOT continues to maintain the road. However, in rare cases the Town can request DOT to transfer responsibility for a new road to the Town and afterwards the Town is responsible for maintenance. Curb cuts, turning lanes, traffic lights, pedestrian walkways and roundabouts are determined by DOT based upon traffic counts and safety concerns surrounding a particular area.
Projects within the town generally take more time due to water lines, sewer lines, closer property boundaries and usually more traffic. The town may have input during the process by way of a regional Transportation Advisory Committee but ultimately funding for any of these large projects is determined by the NCDOT and they either perform the work or contract it out.
The quality of our road infrastructure is far better in North Carolina than our neighboring states. We do pay a higher gas tax for this reason but there is a noticeable difference when you leave our state and travel elsewhere. The next time you travel down I-40 heading toward Statesville, be aware of the difference as you head out of Davie County.
Our local division of the DOT changes at the line between Iredell and Davie and I believe Division 9 (our division) does a fine job maintaining and improving the roads and many of the city streets we use every day.
Mayor Will Marklin