Opponents of Flat Rock road widening say they have nearly a year to fight the project

Last month, Flat Rock Village Council gave the North Highland Lake Road project the thumbs up, but opponents say they still have months to make their voices heard. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

A group opposing a controversial road widening project says there's still time to push back.

Last month, Flat Rock Village Council gave the North Highland Lake Road project the thumbs up, but opponents say they still have months to make their voices heard.

"It's a scenic road. It's one of our gateways into the village," says Anne Colletta, president of Cultural Landscape Group: Flat Rock. "We're opposed to it because it's an unnecessary project. According to DOT, it is not a dangerous road."

She clings to the battle, saying the character and history of the town's at stake.

On June 19, the debate reached a major milemarker when Flat Rock Village Council voted 5-1 to approve the NCDOT's plans.

Supporters point out that the state will cover 80 percent of the costs, paving the way for sidewalks and improved safety.

That council vote wasn't the end of the fight by a longshot.

"Until they start acquiring right of way, which won't happen until June of 2019 for this project, if the Village Council decides to cancel the project, DOT has no problem with that," Colletta says.

The nearly year-long window of opportunity gives her hope. The group's already submitted 1,500 signatures from people opposed to the widening and will continue to take names.

Colletta says Pinecrest Presbyterian and other historic properties on the south side of the road will be negatively impacted by the widening.

"We have also been in contact with some of the other parties that will be affected by the road project. So, we'll be working together to see what our next steps are," she says.

Steps that take both sides down the road toward more debate.

"So until June of 2019, if this were canceled it's no harm no foul," says Colletta.

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