South Charlotte

N.C. has other plans for S. Trade

Commissioners thought the route of South Trade Street had been decided, until Tuesday evening.

The N.C. Department of Transportation has other plans, according to Matthews Public Works Director Ralph Messera.

For three years the board has struggled with plans for that stretch of road, which is much too small for the thousands of cars that travel on it each day.

After numerous meetings, workshops, consultant reports and discussions, the board approved a plan a few months ago to widen the road to four lanes from the intersection of Weddington/Pleasant Plains Road to Fullwood Lane.

Engineers are currently working on that design.

Messera told the board that state transportation officials want the town to add a grass median and turning lanes at intersections and driveways.

Commissioners had discussed adding turning lanes numerous times, but settled on the current four-lane plan because they said that design would minimize the required right-of-way acquisition, preserve current neighborhoods and avoid a “freeway” feel that a wider road would cause.

Matthews town manager Hazen Blodgett says it's now up to the town to provide documentation to the state to support the town's proposal.

Though South Trade Street is a state maintained road, the town budgeted funds to widen it because the project was nowhere on the state's radar, and traffic has gotten worse.

Commissioner Jim Taylor suggested that the town consider taking the road from the state, designating it a town road so the project could continue as commissioners had planned.

“To me it seems like an option we should explore so that we can build the type of road the people of Matthews want and not what the people of Raleigh want,” Taylor said.

Messera will continue discussions with the N.C. Department of Transportation and report back to the board at their next meeting.

In other business last week, commissioners:

Held a public hearing on rezoning 18 acres of land at the corner of Mount Harmony Church Road and Stevens Mill Road to allow expansion of Charlotte South Fellowship. No one spoke against the zoning change, but a protest petition has been filed. That means six of the seven board members will have to vote in favor of the zoning change.

Rezoned land at Lakeview Circle and Sam Newell Road to allow construction of Spring Park, a 41-home single family development with 10 optional “carriage house” apartments.

Rezoned two acres of land adjacent to the Matthews Post Office to allow construction of an employee parking lot.