While council this evening did not take a vote on the matter, the panel gave its consensus for City Manager Joseph Scherer to construct a resolution and bring it back for the August 21 meeting.
Scherer said following the meeting he and City Attorney Gilbert Chichester would work on the draft.
Halifax County commissioners Monday agreed to draft a resolution opposing the current project as well and will use arguments posed by businessman Scott Aman of New Dixie Oil as well as those made by Sheriff Wes Tripp.
Aman proposed the resolution to commissioners Monday and to council this evening. The Halifax County Economic Development Commission has drafted a resolution but it has not yet been approved by the board, county Economic Development Director Cathy Scott confirmed following the council meeting.
Aman presented the same arguments to city council as he did to commissioners Monday. “I’m supportive of the improvements,” he said, adding, however, he believes the state Department of Transportation oversized the plans as they now stand.
DOT held a meeting in October to discuss the plans to widen the highway from Interstate 95 to Old Farm Road as a way to reduce congestion and improve highway access for residents and businesses. The proposed design widens the highway from two to four lanes with a 23-foot median. The outside lanes would accommodate bicycles and a 5-foot sidewalk is proposed for the east side.
Aman said the current plans for a divided highway and center median which mostly eliminates or controls left turns will negatively impact existing businesses and limit future development.
“They need to finish 125 like they started from Wendy’s to the State Employees Credit Union,” he said.
That section does not have a median.
Aman said in letters to both county board Chairman Vernon Bryant and Mayor Emery Doughtie, “Continuing the highway layout from the vicinity of Wendy’s and Touchstone Bank as a five-laned highway with a center turn lane will save state transportation funds and greatly reduce the impact to property owners. Most landowners along this corridor I have spoken with do not want a divided highway that restricts access and controls left to and from their properties. Controlled access will likely impact business interest in this area as well as future commercial property values.”