A state-hired consultant is looking into options for a "flyover" road across Interstate 77 in south Iredell that would improve access to Lake Norman Regional Medical Center and the national headquarters of Lowe's Companies Inc.
The overpass also would enhance east-west road access in the Mooresville area and link to a future commuter rail station, Mooresville Transportation Planner Neil Burke said.
The flyover would improve traffic flow particularly for southbound I-77 motorists trying to get to Lowe's and the hospital off I-77 Exit 33, Burke said. It would provide direct access to those facilities.
Lowe's headquarters employs about 3,500 people and could employ several thousand more in years to come, Burke said. Employees also access the company via I-77 Exit 31 (Langtree Road).
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The proposed flyover road is known as the "Fairview Flyover" because it would hook directly into Fairview Road, which passes the hospital and Lowe's campus.
In 2003, the town secured $745,125 for planning and environmental studies that will have to be done before the flyover is built, Burke said. In February 2005, the N.C. Department of Transportation placed the studies on its transportation improvement list.
Money to construct the flyover wouldn't be considered for the list until the studies are done, Burke said.
The state hired Cary-based consultant Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc. in January to study alternative alignments for the flyover. The consultant is expected to complete the study within a year, Burke said.
Alternatives could involve moving Alcove Road to the west, extending Fairview Road over I-77 to the relocated Alcove and reconfiguring Exit 33. Kimley-Horn's study would detail costs of the alternatives, Burke said.
Hampton Inn opening in Huntersville
HUNTERSVILLE A 125-room Hampton Inn and Suites will open Tuesday off Interstate 77 Exit 23, the second-largest hotel by number of rooms in North Mecklenburg's three towns, and the largest in Huntersville.
The hotel includes an outdoor swimming pool, fitness center, free wi-fi, free breakfast, a business center and 625 square feet of meeting space. Rooms include flat-panel televisions.
A grand opening celebration is planned for April.
In other hotel news, Courtyard by Marriott Lake Norman, 16700 Northcross Drive, Huntersville, will have a free grand reopening celebration from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday.
The hotel has given its lobby a new look with a full bar, a Starbucks and a restaurant called The Bistro. A new high-tech "Go-Board" provides weather information, national news, financial updates, traffic conditions, local restaurant recommendations and flight information.
Courtyard by Marriott Lake Norman opened in 1998 and has 90 guest rooms and meeting space for up to 40 people. It is owned by Charlotte-based SREE Hotels LLC, founded in 1980 by Ravi and Chandra Patel in Florence, S.C.
Grand reopening festivities will include beer, wine and food. Reservations: Sheree Roper, 704-949-4900; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students raise awareness of trees
DAVIDSON Eighth-graders at Community School of Davidson helped placed price tags on about 50 trees in Roosevelt Wilson Park and on the Village Green last week to show the value of the trees over a decade to the environment.
The tags stayed up through the town's celebration of Arbor Day on Friday.
Student Tyler Sholes said the class first identified the trees, measured their circumference and entered the data into a calculator for an accurate picture of each tree's annual contribution, which they then multiplied by 10. They used the National Tree Benefit Calculator at www.treebenefits.com/calculator/.
Lowe's wins Energy Star award
Mooresville-based Lowe's Companies Inc. recently won the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star Sustained Excellence Award in Retail for the second straight year, for leadership in energy-efficient products.
Lowe's officials will receive the award at a ceremony April 12 in Washington, D.C.
Lowe's is the only company in the retail category to win the award. The company has won nine consecutive Energy Star awards, including four Retail Partner of the Year awards and the 2010 Sustained Excellence Award for commitment to energy efficiency.