Darts and laurels: Roadwork on interstate seems endless

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 20, 2019

A laurel and a dart to upcoming resurfacing work on Interstate 85.

Laurel for ensuring that pavement is resurfaced. The interstate is a crucial transportation artery for the region, the Department of Transportation must ensure it remains in good shape. We’re glad to see upkeep planned.

But the dart goes to the seemingly endless road construction on the interstate. For years, crews have been working in southern Rowan to widen I-85, build new exits and make other transportation-related changes. Resurfacing on I-85 is expected to continue until summer 2021, which could mean lane closures.

It was good to see in a story published Wednesday (“Interstate 85 resurfacing may begin in early July DOT says”) that DOT plans to conduct any work that occurs during the daytime outside of peak hours and that most of the work will occur at night.

Laurel to those involved in making a regional firefighter training exercise possible at the site of the shuttered Ryan’s Restaurant on Jake Alexander Boulevard.

The training drew fire crews from nearby communities in North Carolina as well as nearby states. It provided firefighters with the rare opportunity to practice techniques in a commercial building that’s no longer in use. Among other things, firefighters were able to practice techniques for removing sections of the building’s roof to allow for an exit point for heat and smoke.

Importantly, use of the Ryan’s building was donated as were the supplies. Instructors taught at no cost. Registration fees benefited the Carolina Brotherhood, a charity that supports the families of fallen emergency personnel.

Laurel to Historic Preservation Commission member William James, who made a poignant argument during a meeting last week about the need for the group to provide assistance in some cases.

“I do think that, if we’re going to reject an application and, therefore, make it a real financial burden on these homeowners, we’re going to have to have some burden on ourselves to provide some assistance — at least information on alternatives,” James said during a commission meeting Thursday.

Salisbury prides itself on being a beacon for historic preservation. And it’s reasonable to ask homeowners to find suitable materials. But it’s not OK turn a simple project into a major burden for a homeowner seeking a simple roof replacement.

The commission would be wise to consider James’ argument when updating its guidelines.