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ROUNDABOUTS MEANT TO EASE PISGAH FOREST TRAFFIC

Source:  Mark Barrett/Asheville Citizen-Times/USA Today Network

Be on alert, Brevard/Transylvania County Citizens!  Something is finally going to be done about the traffic at the Pisgah Forest stoplight!!!  YAY!!!  (And everyone who hails from New Jersey will get to take a little trip down memory lane….or should I say, circle?)

PISGAH FOREST — People headed to a popular part of Pisgah National Forest to bomb down a trail on their mountain bike or cast a line in search of trout will have to ride in circles first — but they should be to or from their destination faster.

The state Dept. of Transportation has chosen a plan to build round-abouts at the intersection of US 64/US 276/NC 280 and another just to the northeast to ease sometimes heavy traffic flow in the area just east of Brevard.  The area is the gateway to a part of the National forest that includes Looking Glass Falls, Sliding Rock, Looking Glass Rock, the Cradle of Forestry, (Pisgah Riding Stables), Pink Beds, Davidson River and other scenic features.

Late in the day on nice weekends, traffic leaving the area on US 276 can resemble what you might see at a theme park around closing time, so DOT held a public meeting in May to get feedback on different ways to make traffic move more smoothly (at this intersection), and at the (contiguous) intersection that provides access to a large shopping center that includes a Walmart and Bi-Lo, just to the northeast.

The choice came down to adding more lanes and replacing traffic lights or adding lanes and building two roundabouts , and only 16 percent backed new stoplights, DOT said.

¨These roundabouts will help thousands of people on a daily basis and even more people who visit Pisgah Forest,¨ said Jonathan Woodard, division engineer for DOT.  ¨The area is becoming more and more popular with people wanting to go fishing, camping, visit the Cradle of Forestry or visit the waterfalls.  (Note:  you´ll be able to get to Connestee Falls faster, as well!)

Some of the congestion in the area has been attributed to typical rush hour traffic as people go to or from work or school.  Some is caused by large numbers of recreational users.  (Note:  everyone trying to leave Pisgah National Forest at the same time on Sunday afternoons is quite a sight.)

DOT says a typical line of cars waiting to leave the forest will be nearly three times shorter once improvements are built.

SOURCE:  Mark Barrett/Asheville Citizen Times

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