Sound’s Airlie Road has officially been named the 57th member of the
North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Scenic Byways Program.
On Aug. 21,
2012, Wilmington City Council approved a resolution requesting NCDOT recognize
the corridor and on Friday, Dec. 6, NCDOT Scenic Byway Program coordinator Jeff
Lackey said it was approved based on its natural beauty.
“Even thought it
is one and a half miles in length the views to the Atlantic Intracoastal
Waterway are incredible,” Lackey said. “You have a tremendous live oak canopy
with Spanish moss pretty much throughout the entire corridor, there are
transitional spaces where you not only have views of the waterway but also
pastoral views, historic architecture, and not to mention the fact that you have
Airlie Gardens right there.”
Road may be one of 57, Lackey said it unique among the other coastal routes designated.
“When you think
of coastal routes you normally don’t get the enclosure but there are parts of
that road where there are probably 300-400 year old live oaks there in the
canopy,” he said. “On all of [the other coastal scenic byways] there are none
that have that quality.”
does carry federal and state grant opportunities with it but Lackey said that
funding has been limited recently with the reorganization of aspects of North
Carolina’s transportation organizations. However, Lackey said the designation
would allow Airlie Road to be included in NCDOT’s marketing campaign.
“One of the big
things is it will be part of our Scenic Byways book, which is a guide we pretty
much send all over the world,” he said. “Not only that, it will also be part of
the marketing we do for our byway program statewide as well.”
not much will change other than the Scenic Byways signage,
Lackey said. In the case of future developments along the corridor the NCDOT
will focus on protecting the current nature of the roadway.
construction that goes through there is subject to a policy where we try to
look at what we call context sensitive design,” he said. “Normally what happens
is I will work with our engineers to minimize impacts to the corridor.”
expect to see the Scenic Byway signage pop up on Airlie Road sometime around
the beginning of 2014.