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By Mark Wineka
Salisbury Post
With the help of private funding, an Interstate 85 interchange near Old Beatty Ford Road could be redesigned, expedited and fashioned into a new center of commerce, according to economic development officials.
The Salisbury-Rowan Economic Development Commission went on record Wednesday in favor of moving north by a half-mile a proposed Exit 65 at Old Beatty Ford Road.
Development board members said the move would open up the “non-residential” development potential of 405 acres now under ownership or contract.
The state lists Exit 65 on its long-range construction plans but has allocated no money for the project.
Joe Knox Properties of Mooresville owns considerable undeveloped land north of Old Beatty Road, and some type of public-private partnership would be essential to moving any interchange up in priority.
Robert Van Geons, executive director of the EDC, said Wednesday the infusion of private development dollars could possibly speed up and expand the interchange, making it a diamond-designed exit, rather than a half cloverleaf.
The redesign, possible if it moved slightly north, would increase development and capacity and improve traffic flow, Van Geons said.
This area represents the longest stretch of interstate in the Piedmont without an interchange. Officials in Landis, China Grove and Kannapolis strongly endorse moving the interchange, Van Geons said.
It would tie into China Grove Road and Old Beatty Ford Road and provide a new gateway to those municipalities, development board officials said.
While actual construction of an interchange in this Old Beatty Ford Road area could be far in the future, it’s still vitally important to the county, Bruce Jones, chairman of the development board, said.
The Economic Development Commission will ask the county commissioners to also endorse moving the proposed interchange a half-mile north and ask the Cabarrus-Rowan Metropolitan Planning Organization to study the proposal.The interchange by itself would cost $6 million to $8 million, Van Geons said.
“Across the board,” he added, it’s one of the best sites in the county for potential development.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263 or mwineka@salisburypost.com.

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