South Charlotte

Development boom shows how town is growing

Matthews is growing. That’s the message speakers delivered at the recent Matthews Business Summit, sponsored by the town’s Economic Development Advisory Committee.

“Matthews is 17 square miles, 3 percent of the land area in Mecklenburg County. We are growing and we have a very deliberate approach to planning and growth,” said Matthews senior planner Jay Camp.

Camp said the Fullwood/South Trade Street corridor is shaping up to be a major growth corridor. There is Covenant Day High School; Eden Hall, a 90-unit townhome subdivision; 200-unit Plantation Estates expansion; and Fullwood Station, a 42-unit single family home subdivision. They all are under construction.

Land along McKee Road will eventually see 900 new units for seniors with Erickson Living’s Windsor Run project. The marketing center is nearing completion.

The 250-apartment Fountains complex is under construction at Matthews Township Parkway and Northeast Parkway and there are several new infill developments either being planned or under construction in downtown.

Camp said these and other, smaller projects scattered throughout Matthews means there is several hundred million dollars of development currently underway.

To alleviate current traffic issues and help mitigate future problems, a number of road projects are also getting underway.

Warren Cooksey, director of Outreach and Community Affairs for N.C. Department of Transportation Division 10, said future projects slated for Matthews and the surrounding area are included in the State Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP).

The STIP, a 10-year transportation plan which was created as part of state law, aims to take the politics out of road construction. There is a strong data component in each decision meaning personalities and politics take a back seat to hard numbers.

Cooksey said projects with construction dates within five years are certain. Funding has been earmarked for projects in the latter five years, but those projects could be subject to change if the supporting data has significantly changed.

Area projects, along with their NCDOT identification numbers, are listed below. More information can be found at www.ncdot.gov.

▪ Construction is underway on the Monroe Connector Bypass (R-2559 and R-3329), a 19.7-mile toll road that will run roughly parallel to U.S. 74. It will start at the U.S. 74/I-485 interchange and extend to Marshville.

▪ Construction in 2016 to replace culvert under South Trade Street just past MARA athletic fields in Matthews near Weddington/Pleasant Plains Road interchange (U-5804B).

▪ Construction will begin in 2017 on I-485 Express Lanes running from U.S. 74 to I-77.

▪ Construction starts in 2019 on interchange at I-485 and Weddington Road (R-211EC).

▪ Construction scheduled for 2020 to widen N.C. 51 (Matthews Township Parkway) from four to six lanes between Sardis Road and Monroe Road/East John Street (U-5763).

▪ Construction scheduled for 2022 on John Street widening (U-4714A).

▪ Construction scheduled for 2022 on U.S. 74 express lanes from the U.S. 74/I-485 interchange to Conference Drive (U-2509).

▪ Construction scheduled for 2024 on widening of N.C. 51 from Matthews Township Parkway to Lawyers Road (U-5007).

To find out more about the Matthews Economic Development Committee or to see the presentation from their recent Business Summit, visit www.matthewsnc.gov, choose departments, then economic development.

Melind Johnston is a freelance writer: m.johnston@carolina.rr.com.

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