By Clint Parker
Weaverville – Did you see them? They’ve were at nearly every intersection along Highway 25/70 from Weaverville to Marshall. They’re gone now and you really had to be looking closely when they were there to have even noticed them. Little telescoping poles with a do-hickey attached to the top that looks like a camera and a black box near the bottom. They were attached to power poles and stop signs with heavy-duty locks to keep them secure.
The Tribune was notified by a reader several weeks ago to see if we could find out what they were and what they were being used for. We here at the paper figured they were some kind of traffic study being conducted by the highway department, so we contacted David Uchiyama, Communications Officer for the Western Mountains Area of the NC Department of Transportation.
Uchiyama initially responded, “They’re traffic counters. Folks in Raleigh set em up. Our folks here are trying to get more info. Best guess is the every-other-year regular counts. I’ll pass along a line or two when I know.”
That was July 14 and Uchiyama just got back to us on the purpose of the traffic study. In an email he told the Tribune, “A contractor for the N.C. Department of Transportation has placed traffic counters on U.S. 25 as part of a traffic study from Tillery Branch Road to Monticello Road. The study will help determine current traffic numbers as well as expected traffic up to year 2045 along the corridor.
“The data will be used to help determine an estimated cost for a proposed project to provide enhanced safety benefits along the corridor. The project is in preliminary development, funding has yet to be committed, and it is tentatively slated for 2029.”
Many residents believe that such a study might bring more traffic lights to the four-lane highway. We will keep you updated as the information becomes available.