Union County

New maps show plans for Rea Road extension

William Duston, planning zoning administrator for Wesley Chapel, points to a map of the extension project for Rea Road.
William Duston, planning zoning administrator for Wesley Chapel, points to a map of the extension project for Rea Road.

Drivers who routinely get stuck in the dog-legged traffic congestion of Rea Road, Providence Road and N.C. 84 may be wondering whatever happened to the proposed Rea Road extension.

The Village of Wesley Chapel and the town of Weddington recently received maps from the North Carolina Department of Transportation showing the proposed project. The NCDOT also announced plans to hold a public meeting in early 2016 to give area residents a chance to learn more about the project and weigh in on design alternatives. The date and place for the meeting have not yet been finalized.

The NCDOT also hasn’t finalized the route for the extension, said Jordan-Ashley Baker Walker, communications officer. It has been narrowed down to two alternatives, both entering N.C. 84 between Cox Road and Twelve Mile Creek Road.

The project’s cost is estimated to be $44.1 million, according to information Walker recently provided. Right-of-way acquisition and utility relocation is scheduled to take place during fiscal year 2017, with construction beginning in fiscal year 2019.

The NCDOT said it will provide an alternate route to I-485 and Charlotte for Union County drivers, as well as create additional capacity on N.C. 84. The additional capacity should make N.C. 84 safer for drivers, according to NCDOT studies.

“Crash data for the period between May 1, 2010, and April 30, 2015, indicate the crash rate for N.C. 84 in the project area exceeds the statewide average crash rate for similar facilities,” NCDOT reported. “The most prevalent crash pattern along the corridor is rear end crashes, which is generally a symptom of congestion-type issues. It is anticipated that a four-lane divided facility should address the predominant crash patterns currently present along the corridor.”

The proposed project is 4.3 miles long and covers sections of N.C. 84 that, in 2012, averaged 18,900 vehicles a day. The 2012 average for Rea Road was 12,600 vehicles per day, according to NCDOT. New home developments have been added along both roads since then.

In 1996, the NCDOT completed a feasibility study of the 1.7 mile route that would extend Rea Road to N.C. 84. It estimated the cost to be $8 million – including construction and right-of-way. It also estimated traffic along the proposed route would average 4,400 a day, based on 1996 figures, with 9,000 vehicles per day projected for 2020.

In 1996, Union County’s population was roughly half of the 218,568 residents estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2014. A lot has changed in 20 years.

Jane Duckwall is a freelance writer: jbduckwall@gmail.com.

Learn more

Wesley Chapel Administrator Cheryl Bennett said a copy of the map is on display at the town hall 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday. Weddington’s map can be seen when its town hall is open to the public, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. You also can schedule an appointment with Weddington Zoning Administrator Julian Burton.