PILOT MOUNTAIN — After years of waiting and wondering, there is finally a solution for repairing Depot Street. Funding for the project has been approved by the NC Board of Transportation.
The road through the middle of town has been closed for more than two years due to a sink hole caused by a leaking culvert. When the town discovered the issue, there were no funds set aside to make repairs of that magnitude. “The town finances just weren’t there to fix it,” said Mayor Dwight Atkins.
“The Depot Street infrastructure issue is an effect of a larger problem,” said Atkins. The town officials, wanting to address the underlying issue that caused the sink hole, applied for a grant through the Clean Water Management Trust Fund last February. In addition to repairing the road, the grant application requested funds for stream restoration, sewer and storm water management, and a green-way along the creek which passes under Depot Street.
Grant funding does not happen quickly. While the town waited to hear about the status of the grant, representatives at the state level were approached regarding the problem.
Over the past several months, Sen. Shirley Randleman has actively worked to secure funding for the repairs. After securing $42,500 from the Senate DOT Discretionary Funds, Randleman reached out to Rep. Sarah Stevens to obtain the other half.
On Nov. 5 the Board of Transportation voted in favor of using $95,000 of contingency funds to replace the crossline pipe and repair the sink hole on Depot Street in Pilot Mountain. “I want to thank Shirley Randleman and Sarah Stevens for helping to get this approved,” said Atkins.
“We need for the site to dry out from the recent rains before beginning work,” commented Steve Abbott, NCDOT Communications Manager, adding that about one week of dry weather is required before work can begin. According to Abbott, DOT hopes to have the work completed before the cold weather becomes an issue, as paving must take place at temperatures above 45 degrees.
The Clean Water Management Trust Fund is still processing grant applications. Charles Anderson, of the Resource Institute, is assisting the town with the grant process. According to Anderson, priorities and edits to the application should be submitted by Nov. 19.
According to Atkins, the town’s green-way task force will meet Nov. 11 to determine necessary changes to the Depot Street grant application. “We want to be sure we are not put in this situation again several years down the line,” said Atkins, explaining the importance of addressing the water issues on Depot Street in addition to the road repair.
“I am glad that DOT is going to handle fixing it, because it’s a major connector between Main Street and Old 52, and we’ve had community isolated from downtown for too long,” Atkins said.
Diane Blakemore may be reached at 336-368-2222 or on twitter @PilotReporter.