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Business group endorses
 four-lane NC 191 project

While homeowners along N.C. 191 continue to implore the Henderson County Board of Commissioners to help them stop the road’s widening, the leader of a county business organization urged the board to support the proposed four-lane divided highway.


“The business community is behind the project,” Larry Rogers, president of the Partnership for Economic Progress, an organization of 75 business and property owners, told commissioners last week. “We urge you to go forward with the project as it is designed — two lanes in each direction with a medium and a walking trail. I lived on 191 for quite a few years and I’ve watched the traffic build up to the point now where I believe I’d rather go over on 25 to get to Mills River.”
Residents have formed an alliance urging the county to oppose the project and asking the NCDOT to drop it, saying traffic counts don’t support the need.
Two residents spoke against the project on Wednesday. Homeowners have urged state transportation engineers to re-evaluate the need now that the state at the county’s request has killed the Balfour Parkway, a bypass connecting I-26 and N.C. 191. They’ve also said they believe a four-lane road serving Rugby Middle School and West Henderson High School will make traffic more hazardous, not less.
“The negative reaction to the 191 widening is no less than 95 percent,” said Howard Bakken, a Triple Creek homeowner. “I taught public middle school and high school in suburban Chicago for 34 years and I can assure you the emotional development and skill level of beginning teen-age drivers are not to be trusted to a busy four-lane state highway.”