Back-to-school traffic encounters road work

Several road and bridge construction projects could clog local traffic when Cabarrus County schools open next week.

Detours set up around N.C. Department of Transportation projects across the county are likely to lengthen travel times for drivers on their way to school.

Access to the new A.T. Allen Elementary School will be hindered by a bridge replacement project on Miami Church Road. Drivers will be able to access the school on Cold Springs Road from U.S. 601 to the south or N.C. 49 to the north. The bridge is expected to be completed by Sept. 15.

Construction on a bridge near Hickory Ridge High School on Hickory Ridge Road in Harrisburg has left a portion of the road closed since June.

The DOT had estimated that the project would be finished by Thursday. But the work was behind schedule last week, and crews were working seven days a week to try to meet the deadline, said DOT engineer Ronald Graham.

A new traffic signal will also be installed near the entrance to the high school at the intersection of Raging Ridge Road and Hickory Ridge Road.

Another construction project on Poplar Tent Road will likely affect drivers heading toward Cox Mill Elementary School and Cox Mill High School. The DOT is widening the bridge and adding a turning lane on Poplar Tent Road near Cox Mill Road. The project is expected to finish in November.

In late September or early October, Poplar Tent Road will be closed to widen the bridge's surface. Traffic will be re-routed down Cox Mill Road to Christenbury Road.

Jinnette Clay, Cabarrus County Schools' transportation planner, said planners are working to develop routes that will allow school buses to detour construction.

Slowed travel times will also affect other schools that use those same buses to transport students.

Cabarrus County high schools begin at 7:15 a.m., middle schools begin at 9 a.m., and elementary schools begin at either 7:30 a.m. or 8:30 a.m.

"Our main goal is to get students to and from school in a timely manner," said Clay. "Knowing where the problems are helps to alleviate that."