Many ideas were voiced during meetings last week that focused on widening Old Monroe Road. But one message became clearer.“Usually, when we have any sort of public outreach activity about an N.C. DOT project, you get a mixed bag,” said Jen Howard, a spokeswoman for the N.C. Department of Transportation. “I got the impression that most agree there is widespread support for improvements for all three sections of the corridor.”Old Monroe Road, a two-lane corridor, has become increasingly congested in recent years. Lengthy backups are common at major intersections between Indian Trail and Matthews during morning and evening weekday rush hours.Almost 100 people attended recent public meetings to give their input on the N.C. DOT’s plans for the road from Matthews to Wesley Chapel-Stouts Road in Indian Trail.The N.C. DOT is beginning the planning on widening the road and has not decided on a design. The project is divided into three sections, and right now only the section between I-485 in Matthews and Waxhaw- Indian Trail Road is funded.About $38 million is allocated for that section. The other two sections, which are between Trade Street and I-485 in Matthews and Waxhaw-Indian Trail Road and Wesley Chapel Stouts Road, have an estimated cost of $48 million.Construction on the funded section could begin in 2018, but legislation that was signed into law in June is restructuring how transportation projects in North Carolina are prioritized. Officials don’t know how the new laws will affect the Old Monroe Road project.Regardless, transportation officials will continue working with local officials on the design of the road widening, which will be built to accommodate traffic needs for at least two more decades.“We need to provide an acceptable level of service and make sure the cars can move through the corridor,” said Carl Gibilaro, consultant project manager. “We want a facility where no improvement will be necessary until 2035. How many lanes it will take to accomplish that we don’t yet know.”People who attended the design meetings generally were opposed to expanding the road to six lanes, but they had mixed opinions on whether the road should have a median, bikes lanes and pedestrian paths.Comments collected from the public meeting included requests to preserve the Rock Store in Stallings, improve the intersection at Stallings and Old Monroe roads, create safe pedestrian crossings and establish a 35 mph speed limit.Transportation officials presented design concepts that included lanes for bicycles and sidewalks, which town officials have said are important to the their comprehensive transportation plans.The N.C. DOT now is working on an environmental assessment for the project, which should be completed by fall 2014, and officials plan to return in late 2013 to report on their progress and hold more public meetings.Transportation officials welcome public input on the Old Monroe Road widening plan at any time. To submit comments, contact Carl Gibilaro at 704-522-7275 or email@example.com.
Friday, Sep. 06, 2013
Many at public hearings want all sections of Old Monroe Road widened
Marty Minchin is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Marty? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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