Dozens of Charlotte-area road projects delayed due to DOT funding problems

Construction of dozens of Charlotte-area road projects will be delayed as the N.C. Department of Transportation deals with funding shortfalls, state documents show.

Forty-eight projects in Mecklenburg and parts of Cabarrus, Union and Iredell counties face delays for budget reasons under a revised 10-year schedule that the state transportation board is expected to approve Sept. 5. Most construction delays are for one year, but some are for as long as three to four years.

A project schedule called the State Transportation Improvement Program is updated every two years to reflect the state’s current financial position. The TIP, as it is commonly known, sets out the expected dates to begin right-of-way acquisition and construction for transportation projects statewide.

DOT said last week that rising costs to repair weather-related damage, higher project completion costs and legal settlements with landowners in the path of road projects have slowed the pace of construction in recent years.

The list of delayed local projects, which range from interchange improvements to road-widening projects, were provided to the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization Wednesday.

The CRTPO works with the state to develop plans for the urbanized areas of Mecklenburg, Iredell and Union counties, including the cities and towns in them. The group has to independently approve the TIP schedule for projects in its jurisdiction and will open a 30-day public comment period on Nov. 18.

Delays in some projects in the Charlotte region were first proposed in an initial draft of the TIP in January. More were added in a final draft of the plan that the state transportation board is expected to approve in September.

Among them: The long-awaited widening of Interstate 77 from Charlotte to the South Carolina line, with construction not beginning until fiscal 2029. That’s one year more than previously expected, but two years longer than the 2027 date listed in the current version of the TIP.

Funding problems are prompting construction delays for the following Charlotte-area road-widening projects:

Mallard Creek Road from Mallard Creek Church Road to Breezewood Drive, one-year delay to fiscal 2025.

Park Road from Johnston Road to Pineville-Matthews Road, one-year delay to after 2029.

West Catawba Avenue in Cornelius from N.C. 73 to east of Torrence Chapel Road, three-year delay to fiscal 2023.

N.C. 73 in Huntersville from N.C. 115 to Davidson-Concord Road; from Davidson-Concord Road to U.S. 29; and from N.C. 16 to Catawba Avenue in Cornelius, one-year delays to fiscal 2023.

U.S. 21 in Huntersville from Gilead Road to Holly Point Drive, and from Northcross Center Court to Westmoreland Road, three-year delays to fiscal 2024.

N.C. 51 from Sardis Road to E. John Street/Monroe Road, two-year delay to fiscal 2023. N.C. 51 from Matthews Township Parkway to Lawyers Road, one-year delay to fiscal 2024.

Mallard Creek Road from I-485 to Concord Mills Boulevard, two-year delay to fiscal 2023.

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Bruce Henderson writes about transportation, emerging issues and interesting people for The Charlotte Observer. His reporting background is in covering energy, environment and state news.