Jackson County wants some of the Cherokee-bound traffic diverted its way despite highway signs that indicate the way to Cherokee is through Maggie Valley.
Anyone coming to Western North Carolina from Interstate 40 encounters a sign in Waynesville pointing the way to Cherokee by going through Maggie Valley — which decades ago was indeed the primary route. But the winding two-lane road over Soco Gap is no longer the only way, nor easiest way, to reach Cherokee. Simply continue on the four-lane highway U.S. 23-74 past Waynesville, on past Sylva and take U.S. 441 into Cherokee.
The Jackson County Chamber of Commerce wants the N.C. Department of Transportation to add a sign telling motorists that they also can get to Cherokee by simply continuing on U.S. 23/74.
“Presently, the signage suggests that Cherokee can only be accessed by traveling through Maggie Valley,” County Manager Chuck Wooten told commissioners. “This would probably divert some traffic into Jackson County.”
And, of course, perhaps add more tourism dollars to merchants’ wallets, if motorists stop for gasoline or to eat.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has supported adding a sign showing the alternate route via a letter of support to DOT.