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RPO Seeks Qualified Consultant for Safe Routes to Schools & Trails study

The Foothills RPO is seeking letters of interest from qualified consultants to perform a study on connecting local schools to the Thermal Belt Rail Trail.

The Thermal Belt Rail Trail is a 13.5-mile rail trail that connects Forest City, Spindale, Rutherfordton, Ruth, and Gilkey.  The trail has become a recreational, transportation, and tourism asset to the region. As is the case with successful long-distance trails across the United States, there is a desire and the need to provide safe, connected access to and from the trail from the local community and community destinations such as schools. There are six schools that are within ½ mile of the trail (easy walking distance) and a total of nine schools that are within 3 miles of the trail (easy biking distance). 

It is the desire of the Foothills RPO and the jurisdictions along the trail to provide safe routes to schools from the Thermal Belt Rail Trail. A Safe Routes to Schools and Trails (Thermal Belt Rail Trail) study is proposed to provide safe active transportation accommodations to students, teachers, and neighborhood residents. This study will determine both infrastructure recommendations and program recommendations that provide physical access and encouragement programs to get more kids walking and/or biking to school.

Click here to view the full RFLOI (Request for Letter of Interest).

Name Change

As of July 1, 2021, the Isothermal RPO has changed names to the Foothills RPO.

The website is being updated and the address is also changing to http://www.foothillsrpo.org. The old address will continue to work for the next few months.

Staff emails are changing as well:

Karyl Fuller–kfuller@foothillsregion.org

Jerry Stensland–jstensland@foothillsregion.org

The old email addresses will also continue to work for the next little while. Other contact information remains the same.

Please send comments and questions to foothillsrpo@regionc.org.

More Than 8 Million Pounds of Roadside Litter Collected This Year


RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Transportation’s crews, contractors and volunteers have collected more than 8 million pounds of litter from roadsides and are on pace to exceed the state’s record for litter collection set in 2019.   

“We’re less than two months away from our annual Fall Litter Sweep, and we’re counting on everyone to help keep this momentum going,” said state Transportation Secretary Eric Boyette. “Please do your part by securing your loads before traveling, throw away trash in garbage bins, recycle when you can and make sure your friends and family do the same.” 

NCDOT and its partners have removed 8 million pounds of litter since Jan. 1. At this rate, NCDOT will exceed the 10.5 million pounds of litter collected in 2019.   

The 2021 Fall Litter Sweep will be held from Sept. 11-25. To sign up for the litter sweep, go here. To learn more about the litter sweep, visit the program’s webpage.  

NCDOT’s litter management programs are multifaceted. The department makes use of state-owned forces and contract services statewide. NCDOT’s Sponsor-A-Highway Program allows businesses, organizations and individuals to sponsor litter removal along roadsides. NCDOT is also proud to partner with the more than 120,000 participants in the Adopt-A-Highway Program, where volunteers pledge to clean a section of our highways at least four times a year. 

If you spot someone littering from their vehicle, report them with NCDOT’s Swat-A-Litterbug app by downloading the app at ncdot.gov/litter.  

Litter is unsightly, costs millions of dollars to clean up and can hurt the environment, tourism and the state’s quality of life.  

***NCDOT***   Copyright N.C. Department of Transportation
1503 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699 | (919) 707-2660 

NCDOT Halting Most Lane Closures for July Fourth Weekend

The suspended work will help ease holiday congestion


RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Transportation is suspending most road construction projects over July Fourth weekend to help ease highway congestion over the holiday. 

Where possible, lanes that have been closed for construction on interstates or U.S. or N.C. highways will be opened from the morning of Thursday, July 1 through the evening of Tuesday, July 6. 

Exceptions will include bridges being replaced and other long-term lane construction that cannot be temporarily removed.  In addition, highway work that does not impact travel can still be allowed to take place over the six-day period. 

The heaviest traffic is expected Monday, especially on interstates, so people should plan accordingly.

The N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program’s Fourth of July Booze It & Lose it campaign, called ‘Operation Firecracker’ will be in force during the holiday weekend, targeting impaired drivers. Law enforcement agencies will conduct sobriety checkpoint in all 100 counties to help keep the roads safe. So far in 2021, 145 people have died in alcohol- and drug-related crashes in North Carolina. 

As always, motorists are urged to pay extra attention and use caution when traveling. Make sure all vehicle occupants are wearing seat belts, don’t drive impaired, and obey speed limit restrictions, even in work zones when no construction activity is taking place.

Before traveling, people can check the status of their route at DriveNC.gov or call 511 during the daytime.

Some other safety tips Include:
Leave early. Travel at non-peak hours and use alternative routes to avoid the heaviest traffic congestion.
Stay alert. Even when highway work is paused, you may encounter narrowed lanes, shifts in traffic and lower speed limits through work zones.
Be patient.
Don’t drive drowsy. For extended drives, take frequent breaks to remain alert.
Don’t drive distracted. When drivers are not focused on the road, they react slowly to traffic conditions and are more likely to be involved in a crash.

***NCDOT***   Copyright N.C. Department of Transportation
1503 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699 | (919) 707-2660