North Carolina: Garden Parkway

Catawba River Basin: The Garden Parkway would increase pollution in Lake Wylie and the Catawba River basin.

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Photo © Ken Teeter

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Another Unnecessary Highway

With its push for the $930 million Garden Parkway, the North Carolina Department of Transportation continues to propose unneeded, politically-driven highway projects supported by flawed research that have harmful consequences for local communities.  SELC was successful in making sure this road is no longer guaranteed earmarked state funding.  We continue to work to ensure political patrons are not successful in putting this unneeded $930 million project back on the books.

Defective Review

NCDOT’s Environmental Impact Statement stated that there would be almost no indirect environmental impacts because of the report’s fundamental assumption that highways do not induce growth. This statement directly contradicts NCDOT's own public messaging that the roadway will bring growth and development to the region. The EIS also failed to adequately disclose direct consequences to water and air quality for communities.

Despite the project’s expensive price tag, NCDOT has not demonstrated the need for the highway. They have even indicated—on the record—that the project would cause an increase in traffic, as opposed to the congestion decrease NCDOT advertises to the public.

Water and Air Pollution Ignored

This unneeded project would fragment wildlife habitat, pollute the Catawba River basin, and add to the area’s air pollution. The Catawba Riverkeeper says that pollution in the river and Lake Wylie would increase significantly due to the project’s construction activities, run-off from the highway, and increased sprawl.

Gaston County already has the 18th worst ozone pollution issue in the country. Cars are the single largest cause of ozone pollution, and the increased traffic caused by the Garden Parkway would further threaten the area’s air quality.

Most Gaston County residents oppose the project, saying there are no apparent benefits to the Garden Parkway, but the impacts are severe for people living in and around Gaston County.

A Better Solution to Traffic Congestion

Fixing existing roads and bridges and expanding short stretches of roads known to cause congestion would offer a sensible and less expensive, affordable answer, in contrast to the wasteful $930 million Garden Parkway. SELC supports the exploration of transportation alternatives that better protect people and their environment in and around the Gaston County region.

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