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Local delegation meets with NC transportation secretary

By Josh Bergeron
josh.bergeron@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — A number of local officials traveled to Raleigh on Thursday and met with N.C. Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon.

The group included elected and appointed officials, who said they talked with Trogdon and other Department of Transportation staff about local projects. The meeting came after Trogdon was scheduled to speak at a Rowan County Chamber of Commerce breakfast in May. Trogdon was unable to attend because of another engagement.

Those in attendance said some of the specific topics included: Interstate 85 construction, a runway extension at the Rowan County Airport, a pedestrian underpass at the Salisbury train station and routing emergency traffic to the hospital.

In addition to discussion about projects, County commissioners Chairman Greg Edds and Salisbury Mayor Karen Alexander said Trogdon complimented Rowan’s local governments for working together.

Trogdon said many communities within the same county do not enjoy working together, according to Edds. Trogdon also said that communities often want a four-lane road but haven’t drafted a strategic plan, according to Alexander.

Edds said he spoke about the Rowan County Airport and a desired runway extension. A switch in Federal Aviation Administration jurisdiction of Rowan County complicated securing funding for the extension.

Trogdon understood the importance of the Rowan County Airport to the local economy, Edds said.

Edds said he also spoke about a planned, new road named Airport Parkway. The road would connect Mooresville Road to Peach Orchard Road and pass by the county airport. The road could “open up the airport for the next 50 years,” Edds said.

Alexander said she spoke to Trogdon about a number of topics related to public transit, including the planned pedestrian underpass. It would allow people to walk from the existing train platform to one that would be located on the other side of multiple sets of tracks, she said.

Alexander said she also spoke about the “last mile” program, which provides free transfers from Amtrak trains to buses in several North Carolina cities, including Salisbury.

Other members of the group were as follows: Salisbury City Manager Lane Bailey, RowanWorks Economic Development Director Rod Crider, Novant Health Rowan Medical Center President Dari Caldwell, Rowan County Chamber of Commerce President Elaine Spalding and Terry Osborne, who is the government affairs chairman for the Chamber.

Caldwell said she spoke about ways to ensure emergency medical services are able to quickly travel to the hospital. One possibility, she said, would be to place a sensor on fire trucks and other vehicles that could affect traffic lights.

In addition to the local officials who attended the meeting, DOT Division 9 Engineer Pat Ivey also attended Thursday’s meeting. Division 9 includes Rowan, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth and Stokes counties.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.

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