A complete and accurate census count is incredibly important. The census shapes how billions of dollars in federal funding are distributed, how congressional seats are apportioned, and how communities plan for their future residents. So, if you haven’t done so, please fill out your Census form online, by phone or send it in by mail. If you did not get a form in the mail, go here:
my2020census.gov and select the link that says, “If you do not have a Census ID, click here.” It is located below the Census ID login field.
Culvert fails on U.S. 64/74A forcing driver detour
LAKE LURE – Heavy rains from spring storms contributed to a culvert collapsing under U.S. 64/74A in Rutherford County on Tuesday. N.C. Department of Transportation officials placed safety barricades at the site about 6.5 miles east of Lake Lure where the road is undermined and impassable. The detour for westbound traffic utilizes Rainbow Rapids Road, Freeman Town Road and Bills Creek Road. The eastbound detour directs traffic in the opposite order of roads starting with Bills Creek about 1.5 miles outside town limits. The detour adds 10-15 minutes to a commute. NCDOT crews will evaluate the damage once water recedes, then develop a construction plan and timeframe for completion. Crews may begin working in the area as early as next week. Motorists are encouraged to plan extra time for the detour into their driver, and to obey all posted signs including detours.
RALEIGH – Sharp decline in revenue has resulted in the N.C. Department of Transportation falling below the statutorily mandated cash floor of $293 million. According to state law, once the department falls below the cash floor, the department can no longer enter into new contracts that spend money on transportation projects.
“Never in the history of NCDOT has there been such an immediate and sustained decline in revenues,” said Eric Boyette, Transportation Secretary. “We need revenue to begin putting people back to work across North Carolina.”
The NCDOT is fully funded through the Motor Fuels Tax, Highway Use Tax and Division of Motor Vehicles fees. The drop in revenue from these sources due to COVID-19 will result in more than $300 million in lost revenue for this fiscal year, which ends June 30. An additional shortfall of more than $370 million is projected for FY21.
The North Carolina general statutes restrict the department’s ability to enter into agreements that obligate additional funds for transportation projects until cash on hand is above the statutory cash floor, as certified on the last day of the month.
What NCDOT CAN do while below the cash floor:
Continue active projects
Maintain existing infrastructure with existing supplies and staff
Pay incoming invoices from private sector companies as long as funds exist
Continue operating DMV functions
Respond to emergency situations (with existing staff and materials)
Hire new employees for critical, safety-related positions or DMV functions
What NCDOT CANNOT do while below the cash floor:
Negotiate right of way purchases on projects not underway
Purchase additional equipment, supplies or services for transportation projects unless obligated to make such a purchase in an existing contract
Award new construction, engineering or repair contracts
Actions NCDOT is taking:
Laid off nearly half of all temporary employees and embedded consultants
Suspended most programs
Hiring freeze (except for positions impacting public safety)
Canceled contract for passenger ferry
Developing a department-wide plan to furlough employees (plan not yet completed)
Evaluating programs and areas for cuts
At this time, the NCDOT does not know when the cash reserves will be above the cash floor. The department must continue meeting existing obligations and pay invoices for work completed or currently underway. For the department to begin reinstating suspended projects and programs, NCDOT would need revenue replacement to compensate for COVID-19 losses for FY20 and FY21.
SHELBY – A new portion of the Shelby Bypass will open to drivers on Tuesday afternoon, weather permitting. The 5.6-mile segment extending from Peachtree Road to N.C. 226 is expected to open by 5 p.m.
Work on the $19 million contract started in April 2018. It included paving, grading and installing signals and overhead signs to this section that was already built out but needed final surfacing and other elements.
Another segment under construction between N.C. 226 and west of N.C. 150 is scheduled for completion in 2022. The final two sections are scheduled for construction in 2024, extending the bypass to west of Stony Point Road at U.S. 74 Business in Kings Mountain.
When complete, the 18.5-mile, four-lane divided bypass from east of Mooresboro to Kings Mountain will improve mobility through and around Shelby. The project will also improve safety by reducing congestion and crash rates on U.S. 74.
Motorists are encouraged to pay attention when approaching the work zone, obey the posted speed limit, and allow extra time to reach their destinations safely.