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Opposition grows to Kanuga widening

Opposition keeps growing to the Kanuga Road project, a $20 million widening from Church Street to Little River Road that residents describe as a "disaster" and a "government overkill" that will destroy the ambience of the tree-lined winding road. The question remains whether local leaders can do anything to stop it.

A busy commuter road that links Flat Rock, Crab Creek and parts of Transylvania County to Hendersonville, Kanuga Road has the look and feel more of a country road than an urban one and the NCDOT says it needs to be modernized for safety and capacity reasons.
On Wednesday morning six residents stood before the Henderson County Board of Commissioners to strongly raise objections to the road project and another 15 sat in the audience in support. Opponents say the number of signatures on petitions against the widening is at 868 and climbing.
“People in our area feel that we were not made aware of this project in a very respectful manner,” said Cindy Ward, referring to fliers that notified residents of a highway "improvement" project. “We now know it won’t be an improvement, it will be a total devastation to our community.”
Residents who live along the road acknowledged that three fatalities last year had focused attention on safety but they say those accidents were caused by speeding, impaired drivers and illegal passing, not the winding nature of the road.
“By in large, I do not see people speeding, driving recklessly or breaking laws,” one speaker said. “I do not see why the DOT needs to be funding this to the tune of $20 million. We already have a thoroughfare — Highway 64 —from Hendersonville to Brevard. Some years ago there was an attempt to widen Kanuga Road and the citizens stopped that, wisely. … I do not see why widening the road would improve that speed limit. It would probably be raised at that point.”

Residents have appeared before the Board of Commissioners, the Hendersonville City Council and the Flat Rock Village Council to oppose the Kanuga widening and have attended NCDOT public meetings to express their concerns.

Meanwhile, residents across town say the NCDOT ought to spend that $20 million on U.S. 64 improvements.
Residents in Laurel Park and in Hunters Crossing and Hawthorn Hills on U.S. 64 between Laurel Park and Horse Shoe also attended the meeting to oppose another NCDOT project — a widening of that highway in Laurel Park with roundabouts. The residents said the Blye Street to Daniel Drive project won’t improve traffic problems west of Laurel Park, nor boost capacity. Residents west of Laurel Park have rallied to oppose a proposed development of 199 rental cottages on U.S. 64 across from Hunters Crossing.

The Board of Commissioners supported Commissioner Grady Hawkins' suggestion that county administrators and the county attorney explore what steps the county could take to make the NCDOT aware of the residents' concerns about both the Kanuga and U.S. 64 projects.