University City

Roads could affect homes

The city is moving forward with plans to realign part of Prosperity Church Road in northeast Charlotte to prepare for the extension of the Interstate 485 loop through the area.

Dozens of residential properties sit within the wide swath of land that city transportation planners have outlined as a preliminary path for the new road, as well as the extension of nearby Ridge Road.

The work zone could potentially include properties in and near Eastfield, Sinclair Place and Eastfield Ridge, as well as a nearby mobile home park.

The city is in the early planning phase for the project. That includes deciding on an exact location for the 0.8-mile realignment.

"Were hoping to impact as few people as possible," said Daniel Leaver, project manager for the city's Engineering & Property Management department. "We do need to follow the federal process."

The city has received a $4.8 million federal grant to help pay for construction and some land purchases.

City bonds also will be needed to cover some of the costs. The price tag will be calculated in a later phase.

With the federal grant, the city inherits an obligation to buy land in a way that distributes the burden of displacement equitably among communities in the area.

That means planners must avoid creating a social injustice by taking more land from fragile communities than from others.

The city could potentially take land from properties along Goldenblush Creek, Red Clover Lane and part of the mobile home park.

The city plans to develop multiple routes and take comments at a meeting in next spring. A date for the meeting has not been set.

About 200 people attended a public meeting in November to learn about the plan. About 20 of the 44 written comments collected at the meeting were generally in favor of the project, Leaver said.

About 16 comments were undecided or did not express a preference. About eight comments were against the plan, he said.

Realigning the road is necessary to tie into I-485's planned on and off ramps at Prosperity Church Road.

The final leg of the loop is scheduled to be completed in 2014. That creates some urgency for moving ahead with the realignment of Prosperity Church Road, Leaver said.

"We're definitely trying to get it done as quickly as possible, but at the same time making sure we make all the steps to follow the federal requirements."

City staff members have sketched a preliminary work zone that begins on Prosperity Church between Prosperity Ridge and Eastfield roads. The route continues to the proposed I-485 interchange, near Prosperity Church and Johnston-Oehler roads.

Ridge Road also will be extended from the existing Prosperity Church Road to the new location. If enough money is available, Ridge Road will be extended to Goldenfield Drive, Leaver said.

The city approved the plan to realign a portion of Prosperity Church Road in 1999 when it adopted the Prosperity Village Plan.

Bidding, land purchases and construction will follow planning and design. HDR Engineering is a consultant for the project.