Opposition by neighbors, including NASCAR driver Greg Biffle, has sunk Mooresvilles long-time plans to alleviate chronic N.C. 150 traffic tie-ups by building a bridge across a Lake Norman cove.
The bridge would have spanned Morrison Cove in the McCrary Creek section of the lake. It would have linked Doolie and Oak Tree roads, providing quicker access from N.C. 150 West to Brawley School Road and Interstate 77s impending Exit 35.
The Mooresville Town Board of Commissioners voted Nov. 5 in favor of an updated Comprehensive Transportation Plan that included the bridge. On Monday, commissioners amended that vote by excluding the bridge. The plan is a long-term list of road projects aimed at reducing congestion.
Commissioners said they had little choice but to exclude the bridge after the Iredell County Board of Commissioners approved the same plan earlier this month, but without the bridge. The town and county must agree on the towns transportation plan before the state will consider it..
Biffle lives where Doolie Road dead-ends at the lake. He joined residents from the other side of the cove to speak against the bridge at the county commissioners meeting this month. Residents cited traffic and environmental concerns and the unknown financial costs, much as they did at the Nov. 5 Mooresville commissioners meeting.
Residents Deborah Bowen and Beth Rathke said nearby four-lane Morrison Plantation Parkway, which likewise links Brawley School Road and N.C. 150, made the bridge unnecessary.
Rathke told the Mooresville commissioners in November that bridge traffic would disrupt seven peaceful, safe neighborhoods on Oak Tree, including a senior living community. Oak Tree Road is home to numerous skateboarders, bicyclists, dog-walkers, golf carts and children running to and from each others homes, she said.
Drivers from Lake Norman High School on Doolie Road would endanger the lives of the more than 500 children who attend Lake Norman Elementary School on Oak Tree Road, she said. Many of the students walk to and from school with their parents.
After nearby Morrison Plantation Parkway was completed, Rathke reminded commissioners, a pedestrian was struck and killed by a student who was late for class.
I shudder to think that this connector bridge would enable our high school students yet another way to speed to school, she said.
Lake water quality also would suffer due to litter, Rathke said, and the bridge could hurt property values.
Mooresville and Iredell Countys votes marked the second defeat of a bridge project across a lake in the Charlotte region this year.
In May, an eastern York County, S.C., planning committee rejected spending more money to build or study a proposed bridge from Rock Hills Mount Gallant Road to Sutton Road in Fort Mill.
S.C. Rep. Ralph Norman, R-Rock Hill, a member of the Rock Hill-Fort Mill Area Transportation Study, led the effort to permanently suspend any money on the projected $60 million project, arguing that the bridge might not be the best answer to solving traffic problems between Fort Mill and Rock Hill.
Before the vote, Norman and River Hills resident Leo Yakitus expressed concerns about Catawba Indian archaeological sites on the Fort Mill property that the bridge would cross before tying into Sutton Road.
The (Rock Hill) Herald contributed.