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Shared by IRPO–Woman Appointed to Lead Highway Division for Second Time in NCDOT History!

Burch promoted to western deputy chief engineer


SYLVA – For the second time in its history, a woman will lead a highway division for the N.C. Department of Transportation.


Wanda H. Austin, P.E. CPM, has been promoted to Division 14 engineer, the agency announced Friday.


“I am excited to accept the opportunity to lead such a great group of NCDOT employees,” Austin said. “NCDOT is a leader in the transportation industry, and the employees of Division 14 are ready to serve the people of western North Carolina.”


As the top highway engineer in Division 14, Austin will oversee planning, construction and maintenance of highway projects in the 10 westernmost counties.


More than 450 employees work under Austin’s supervision on more than 10,000 miles of roads in western North Carolina.

“Wanda is a strong engineer and a great role model for our department and women who want to pursue careers in engineering,” said state Transportation Secretary Eric Boyette. “She has worked very hard in her years with the agency and we’re confident she will continue to make lasting contributions to improve the transportation system in western North Carolina.”


Austin becomes the first female Division Engineer in Division 14 and the second female Division Engineer in NCDOT history. Karen Collette, who retired in 2019 as the engineer for Wilmington-based Division 3, was the first female division engineer in the agency’s history.


Austin most recently served as Division 14 Project Delivery Engineer to oversee long-range planning and development of various projects. Her diverse career includes experience in traffic engineering, maintenance, division design construction, contract administration and project development.


She earned a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Clemson University, an M.B.A. from East Carolina University and holds an N.C. Professional Engineer license, a Project Management Certificate and graduated from the N.C. Certified Public Manager Program. She is serving a two-year term on the Central Piedmont ASPA board.


Austin replaces Brian Burch, P.E., who has been promoted to western deputy chief engineer to oversee seven western divisions.


Her announcement is among several recent leadership changes at NCDOT. The agency also announced the promotion of Greg Burns from Fayetteville-based Division 6 engineer to eastern deputy chief engineer. Taking over in Burns’ former role at Division 6 engineer is longtime NCDOT engineer Drew Cox.

Isothermal Regional Comprehensive Transportation Plan Update–March 12, 2021

Covering McDowell, Polk and Rutherford Counties

Five Public Involvement meetings were held from February 24 through March 10, 2021: one each in Rutherford and McDowell Counties and three in Polk County.

Written public comments are still being accepted and can be sent to isothermalrpo@regionc.org. The steering committee will review the comments for possible inclusion in the Plan. The Public Comment Period will end on April 12, 2021.

All of the maps, videos, and project sheets are here.

Shared by IRPO–Help Guide the Future of Recreation in Polk County!

Polk County Parks and Recreation Needs Your Help! Polk County has reopened its Parks and Rec survey to gather input from a greater portion of the community on recreational opportunities in the county.

Please click the link below to take their new survey and share your opinions. Information gathered in this survey will be used to help update the comprehensive plan for parks and recreation programs and facilities within Polk County. 

Click Here to Take Survey!!

Regional CTP Public Involvement Workshop, Polk County-March 9, 2021 (Tryon)

Covering McDowell, Polk and Rutherford Counties

There will be a public involvement meeting from 4-6 PM. There will be a 15-minute video presentation at 4 PM and 5 PM. Afterward, there will be an opportunity for participants to ask questions and provide written comments.

You may come in-person to the Tryon Town Hall, 301 N. Trade Street, Tryon, or participate virtually by Zoom. Please use this link: 

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89665307202?pwd=VXJLV0t0d2VEMFBEbGRiTG1pWkJGdz09

or call in: Call +1 669 900 9128. The meeting id is 896 6530 7202. The password is 5127201.

All of the workshop materials are here.

Regional CTP Public Involvement Workshop, Polk County-March 8, 2021

Covering McDowell, Polk and Rutherford Counties

There will be a public involvement meeting from 4-6 PM. There will be a 15-minute video presentation at 4 PM and 5 PM. Afterward, there will be an opportunity for participants to ask questions and provide written comments.

You may come in-person to the Saluda Library, 44 West Main Street, Saluda, or participate virtually by Zoom. Please use this link: 

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81234454656?pwd=WFRBRTlKK0VoUUFnd25sK1cxTmdFZz09

or call in: Call +1 669 900 9128. The meeting id is 812 3445 4656. The password is 4345803.

All of the workshop materials are here.

Regional CTP Public Involvement Workshop, McDowell County-March 3, 2021

Covering McDowell, Polk, Rutherford Counties

There will be a public involvement meeting from 4-6 PM. There will be a 15-minute video presentation at 4 PM and 5 PM. Afterward, there will be an opportunity for participants to ask questions and provide written comments.

You may come in-person to the Marion Community Building, 191 North Main Street, Marion, or participate virtually by Zoom. Please use this link: 

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88461747459?pwd=aElqVW9yY0Y4cTRBTlpLV3JRUkJQQT09

or call in: Call +1 669 900 9128. The meeting id is 884 6174 7459. The password is 8484238.

All of the workshop materials are here.

Regional CTP Public Involvement Workshop, Polk County-March 1, 2021

Covering McDowell, Polk and Rutherford Counties

There will be a public involvement meeting from 3-5 PM. There will be a 15-minute video presentation at 3 PM and 4 PM. Afterward, there will be an opportunity for participants to ask questions and provide written comments.

You may come in-person to the Womack Building, 40 Courthouse Street, Columbus, or participate virtually by Zoom. Please use this link: 

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85184796611?pwd=NXAzMU85blEzaXd3NE1vdnh1a0R5dz09

or call in: Call +1 669 900 9128. The meeting id is 851 8479 6611. The password is 7195519.

All of the workshop materials are here.

TCC and TAC Meetings on March 3, 2021

The RPO will hold a Technical Coordinating Committee (TCC) and a Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) meeting on March 3, 2021 by Zoom.

The Technical Coordinating Committee (TCC) meeting will start at 10:30 AM and you can listen to the meeting by calling +1 646 558 8656 and entering the meeting ID: 881 7884 7432 and password: 8526115. See the agenda here.

The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) meeting will start at 1:00 PM and you can listen to the meeting by calling +1 646 558 8656 and entering the meeting ID: 833 5191 0560 and password: 8218529. See the agenda here.

If you have comments, please email it to isothermalrpo@regionc.org by 9:00 AM, March 3, 2021.