21st Century

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There's a question of whether you fight to maintain traditions or whether you work to do kind of damage control in accepting change. I don't know the answer. I'm frustrated every day that I get out of bed about it.

Taylor Barnhill

"Missing link" - Stan Hyatt

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Road construction continues to influence both welcomed and unwanted changes in the Mountain Region of North Carolina. One significant example of this was evidenced by the mixed responses Madison County residents had towards plans to extend Interstate 26 (I-26), through the county. Many of the interviews included in this website were conducted in 2000, amidst the construction project (1997-2003), as the North Carolina Department of Transportation worked to develop old US 23 to modern interstate standards.

"Drone of traffic"
- Taylor Barnhill

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Supporters of the six-lane section of interstate included those who felt traffic on old US 23 had become dangerous and those who hoped the road would bring new commerce and jobs to the area. Residents on the other side of the argument feared the impact it would have on their community and the environment. However, most community members found themselves with divided opinions, recognizing both benefits and detriments that the road could bring. They had witnessed change come to the Mountain Region in many forms, I-26 being only the most recent, and recognized to an extent its inevitability, but also feared that too much change would alter their home in ways they had not wished for.