Opponents Continue To Fight Garden Parkway, Monroe-Connector Bypass
Two proposed toll roads to the east and west of Mecklenburg County continue to the be the subject of much debate. Opponents of the Garden Parkway in Gaston County converged in Raleigh on Wednesday to tell lawmakers the $1 billion project is a waste, the Charlotte Observer reports. Many of the opponents came away particularly upset with Republican Sen. William Current Sr. of Gaston County. "He was belligerent, insulting and hateful," said Warren Ellington, 55, of Belmont. "He wasn't interested in any facts or statistical information. It was absolutely shocking." "He treated us like we didn't have any sense," she said. "He talked to me like I was a complete numbskull," added Judy Joyce of Belmont. Sen. Current, who supports the road, said he was in a hurry and "they bombarded me with all these facts I wasn't interested in hearing." "If I came across as condescending, I apologize," he added. Belmont City Councilman Bill Toole led the group of road opponents to the capitol. WFAE's Julie Rose spoke to the NC Turnpike Authority's chief engineer about the project a few weeks ago. Click here to listen to the interview and/or read a transcript of the segment. Monroe-Connector Bypass Meanwhile, the Monroe-Connector Bypass still needs a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers, the Observer reports. The 19.7 mile told road would largely follow U.S. 74, beginning near I-485. The Charlotte Observer notes that Turnpike Authority officials were saying last fall that they expected construction to begin in December. The road also continues to be the subject of environmental battles. An attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center points out to the Observer that her clients can seek an injunction to block bond sales if the Corps approves the permit. Environment groups such as the Yadkin Riverkeeper are also challenging a state water permit issued for the road. They say the NC Department of Natural Resources did not fully assess the road's impact on the Yadkin River watershed.