Indian Trail officials recently met with North Carolina’s Department of Transportation to discuss the continued delay of widening Old Monroe Road.
Town Manager Joe Fivas voiced the frustrations of many residents who hope to get the project done sooner. Old Monroe Road is a key commuter road that runs through Indian Trail, into Matthews and onto Charlotte. Thousands of cars travel that mostly two-lane road daily.
“We were sold on the commitment from NCDOT that the widening project would be done in 2018,” he said. “Now, as it stands, construction only will begin in 2024.”
The NCDOT released its 2016-2025 Transportation Improvement Program this summer. Old Monroe Road is a three part, 6 1/2 -mile project that starts in Matthews at intersection of East John Street and Trade Street and continues through Stallings where East John Street changes names to Old Monroe Road and heads into Indian Trail, ending at the intersection of Old Monroe Road and Wesley Chapel Stouts Road.
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NCDOT plans to widen East John Street-Old Monroe Road from two lanes to four, divided by a landscaped median – similar to Providence Road traveling from south Charlotte into Weddington.
The project is divided into three sections:
▪ Division A: East John Street at Trade Street to intersection with Interstate 485.
▪ Division B: East John Street at Interstate 485 to Indian Trail Road.
▪ Division C: East John Street at Indian Trail Road to Wesley Chapel Stouts Road.
Rights of way acquisitions are scheduled to begin in 2020 for division A and 2021 for division B. Construction will begin on division A in 2022, when right of way acquisitions start for division C. Construction will begin on division B in 2024 and the future construction dates haven’t been set for division C. The cost of the proposed project is over $87 million.
You have a quality of life issue, spending extra money on gas, decrease in property values and more time on the road.
Indian Trail Town Manager Joe Fivas
Indian Trail has been working for five years to get the road widened. Town officials had the state Department of Transportation transfer $9 million dollars from another road project along Indian Trail Road to help fund a portion of the project and meet the demands of a growing traffic problem. Indian Trail residents also approved a $10 million bond referendum in November 2011, committing to partially fund division C of the project.
“Residents have put up tax dollars to fix the problem,” said Fivas. “2024 is really unacceptable. It ranks as one of the worst roads for commutes in Union County.”
The bond has an expiration date. Fivas said they have seven years to use the money.
Fivas also said the project’s delay was unexpected because NCDOT took on the project with the commitment to complete it by 2018.
“Anyone who lives here understands that this is an awful situation,” he said. “It takes 30 to 45 minutes to drive 2 miles.”
He said businesses suffer because traffic deters people from shopping along Old Monroe Road during peak congestion. He also said it hurts the town’s image, because of the lack of upgrades when population and demand continues to increase.
“You have a quality of life issue, spending extra money on gas, decrease in property values and more time on the road,” he said. “The town has done their fair share and someone needs to meet us half way.”
Indian Trail Council Member Gary Savoie works with the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization to advocate for the town. He said it was discouraging to receive a lower ranking than expected, especially since the town provided local funds to support the project. Savoie said NCDOT has been sympathetic and is working to create a better solution, even if that means changing the structure of how the project is proposed.
“We are in conversations right now to see if we can get this done as one big project and move up the timeline,” he said. “You have to remember that a lot of Union County roads are state roads and state road money is tight.
“We want residents to know we are working on this on a daily basis and we see it and deal with it coming to work every day. I know it needs to be fixed.”
Crystal O’Gorman is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.