February 25, 2013 DOT Update

Dear friends of Maverick Farms,
Today was the big meeting with the NC Dept of Transportation (DOT) at
the farm. The meeting was neither good nor bad — the DOT said they
will “look into alternatives.” The biggest thing to come out of the
meeting was the success of the social pressure that the DOT has been
receiving the last couple weeks, and in this we can definitely claim a
win, thanks to all of you! It’s good news that the subcontractor,
Janice Rogers from Telics, was not included, and the only people that
came to the meeting today were the DOT engineers for the district and
the region, Mike Pettyjohn (North Wilkesboro) and Ivan Dishman
(Boone), along with our lawyer John Runkle from Chapel Hill. The other
people present were Bill Wilson, Hillary Wilson, and Worth Kimmel.

Basically, the engineers said they had been getting the message that
lots of people do not want to see the fields destroyed, especially for
a dead-end road. But, they said the DOT does not build one-lane roads
anymore, and these bridges are “functionally obsolete and structurally
deficient”. The bad news is that the only money that exists comes from
a fund for bridge repair — and the only way to replace the bridges on
a dead-end road is to re-route the road and build new bridges. So they
are basically ready to spend $820,000 to destroy the farm. They
insisted that the new bridges will make things safer for people on the
farm (?), and when asked about the obvious idiocy of going from a
two-lane paved bridge back to an unpaved one-lane through the farm
buildings (which they just don’t have money to condemn at the moment)
they said they have to build “looking towards the future and since
they don’t know what the future will hold, they have to build
forward-thinking”. They seem to be inclined to spare the bottom patch,
at least more than it currently is, and they will build a
tractor-width entrance into the upper patch, taking only the bottom
1/3 of the upper patch to get rid of the curve, cover the stream with
a 50-foot culvert, and make a staging area of the top of our driveway
with space for “large equipment and a crane”.

The only hope we have is to continue the pressure on these people and
draw the process out as long as possible, until they find some money
for alternatives that do not depend solely on the bridge fund.