Skip to main content

NC House halts work on I-73/74 Welcome Centers in Randolph County

This past Wednesday, the NC House unanimously approved a bill that halts construction of two highway welcome centers in Randolph County along Interstate 73/74. Construction can only proceed after officials from the Department of Commerce and the DOT consult with the legislature.

The bill also requires both agencies to get a legislative committee's approval before building any future welcome centers.

The I-73/74 rest area's were originally slated to be 'visitor centers'. Visitor centers are operated by local counties promoting their own region. However, over time the visitor centers were promoted to Welcome Centers which are staffed and paid for by the state. Both welcome centers would cost the state $180,000 each to operate.

It appears that miscommunication between the NCDOT and the Department of Commerce led to the rest stops becoming full blown welcome centers. The DOT claims that Commerce insisted on the two rest areas becoming Welcome Centers. The Commerce Department says that they wish they were informed of the intention to make the rest areas visitor centers. The Commerce Department believes that all centers on highways should be welcome centers so that a consistency of services and message be shown throughout the state.

Story:
Welcome centers construction frozen

See Also:
I-73/74 Welcome Centers nixed


Commentary:
And that's why the legislature stepped in. If the Commerce Department wants all "highway visitor centers" to be upgraded to a Welcome Center, the state would have to increase spending to operate the facilities. It was suggested in a transportation forum, that the original intention to build the rest areas as visitor centers was the right approach. And I agree, Randolph and neighboring counties can easily pool resources to operate and maintain the visitor center and hire a staff or support local volunteers interested in promoting their community.

Allowing the two rest areas to be "visitor centers", does accomplish a constant message of promoting North Carolina. The only difference is that is has a more local approach and staffed by individuals that are proud to promote their home. And it also stays out of the state budget.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The original alignment of US Route 40 over the Martinez-Benicia Ferry and Carquinez Scenic Drive

This past November I took a day trip out to the Carquinez Straights to explore the original alignment of US Route 40 over the Martinez-Benicia Ferry and Carquinez Scenic Drive.



Part 1; the history of road bound travel over the Carquinez Straights

The Martinez-Benicia Ferry began operation in 1847 and is the second oldest ferry in the San Francisco Bay Area.  The Martinez-Benicia Ferry shuttled traffic across the Carquinez Strait long before a bridge was present in the area.   The Martinez-Benicia Ferry was founded by Dr. Robert Semple and was taken over by Oliver Coffin (interesting last name) who built the Ferry Street Wharf in 1850.  The Martinez-Benicia Ferry can be observed even vintage maps such as the 1857 Britton & Rey's Road Map of California.


By 1915 a steam ferry known as the City of Seattle was the first to carry automotive traffic across the Carquinez Strait.  Access to the Martinez-Benicia Ferry was by way of Legislative Route 14 and Legislative Route 7.  LRN…

Box Canyon Road (former US 60, US 70 and the second California State Route 195)

This past month while visiting Riverside County I drove Box Canyon Road from Interstate 10 near Chiriaco Summit southwest to Mecca in Coachella Valley.  Box Canyon Road is mostly known for being the original alignment of US 60/70 when they were expanded into California.


Box Canyon Road is an approximately 15.8 mile road between I-10/Cottonwood Springs Road near Chiriaco Summit which travels southwest through the Mecca Hills to Coachella Valley where it becomes 66th Avenue. 


Box Canyon Road follows a naturally cut wash through the terrain of the Mecca Hills.  The path of Box Canyon Road has been a known route of travel from Coachella Valley to the Colorado River and eastern Sonoran Desert for centuries.  During the California Gold Rush a wagon route known as the Bradshaw Trail was plotted through the Sonoran Desert by William D. Bradshaw.  The Bradshaw Trail was plotted in 1862 through the Sonoran Desert east over the Colorado River to a new mining strike found in La Paz, Arizona.  B…

California State Route 79

This past month I drove a segment of California State Route 79 from Interstate 15 in Temecula east to CA 371.  Given that CA 79 was one of more common routes of travel circa 2011-2013 in Southern California I figured it be a good opportunity to discuss the history of the highway.


Excluding recent relinquishments CA 79 is a 107 mile highway counting 1995 era mileage.  CA 79 begins at I-10 near Beaumont of Riverside County and travels generally southward to I-8 near Los Terrenitos of San Diego County.




Part 1; The History of California State Route 79

CA 79 was one of the original Sign State Route Highways announced in a 1934 Department of Public Works Guide.  CA 79 was originally aligned from US 395 in Temecula southward to US 80 near Descanso.


CA 79 in it's original configuration was entirely aligned on Legislative Route 78.   LRN 78 was defined by the State Legislature in 1931 as an inland route between San Diego and Temecula.  LRN 78 was clarified in 1933 to include two segments; o…