Visitors to the Scaly Mountain convenience center are stopping a little short these days.
The Hale Ridge Road site used by Macon County Solid Waste as a drop off point for several years is closed and a temporary convenience center has been moved up the hill while the permanent center is reconfigured.
“The Scaly Mountain project is underway and the grading is coming along nicely,” Macon County Solid Waste Director Chris Stahl said. “Obviously, all the rain we’ve been having hasn’t helped our cause. But even with the rainy weather we are hoping to have the project completed in roughly four weeks.”
Stahl noted that the new Scaly Mountain convenience center will feature a more modern layout with a drive-thru traffic flow as opposed to a ramp with a dumpster on either side and a recycling trailer.
“When it’s complete the Scaly site will look a lot like the Buck Creek convenience center in Highlands,” Stahl said. “It should be more user friendly and it will certainly be easier for our guys to collect the waste that is dropped there.”
The temporary center is located adjacent to the permanent site and is open the same times, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.
The project is part of a larger revamp of convenience centers across the county. According to Stahl, the Scaly Mountain center is the first in a three-phase plan to redesign multiple congested or otherwise outdated centers.
“The Scaly convenience center is actually part of the same contract as the Nantahala convenience center, so once we get it wrapped up we will move immediately into the work at Nantahala,” Stahl said. “Once Nantahala is finished, then we will tackle the Carson Community convenience center west of Franklin. That one is going to be a little more involved, so we decided to do it last.”
Along with the three convenience center redesigns and rebuilds, the solid waste department also recently upgraded the Highlands Road center on US 64 in Franklin. Two new trash compactors were added to the site, which allowed for the three old style dumpsters to be removed.
“What the compactors allow us to do is cut down on trips to and from the Highlands Road center,” Stahl said. “Each compactor can hold 3-4 receptacles worth of household trash. The compactors have only been in place about a week, but it looks like we are going to go from hauling 28-30 cans a week or so, to about eight a week.”