Residents near N.C. 3 attend workshop concerning widening project

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Hugh Fisher
KANNAPOLIS ó North Carolina Department of Transportation officials heard concerns from residents living near N.C. 3 at a workshop Tuesday night at the Kannapolis Train Station.
The Department of Transportation plans to widen a 2.5-mile stretch of N.C. 3, or Mooresville Road, in Kannapolis between Kannapolis Parkway and Loop Road.The current two-lane street will become a four-lane road and will serve as the gateway to the North Carolina Research Campus.
Right-of-way acquisition is scheduled to begin in 2011, with construction slated to start in 2013. The project is estimated to cost $15.5 million.
By and large, residents who attended the workshop support widening N.C. 3. Others hoped to learn more about the project, but found that the design phase is not fully under way.
“I hoped they could tell us something more,” said Gordon Price. He and his wife, Mildred, have lived on Mooresville Road in Kannapolis since 1957.
“We thought we would know something today, but we don’t,” Mildred said.
The Prices are anxious to know more about the widening project because some of their property may be affected.
They would rather stay even if the road is widened. “I’m 84 years old,” Gordon Price said. “You just don’t pack up and move at that age.”
High-resolution satellite maps allowed locals to point out their homes and share specific traffic concerns with eight Transportation Department representatives who circulated throughout the room answering questions about the project.
Kristina Solberg of the state agency’s Project Development and Environmental Analysis Branch said she was pleased with the turnout. About 50 residents arrived for the first hour of the drop-in session.
“We wanted to outline the purpose of the project and get input before the final design decisions are made,” Solberg said.
The purpose is to increase safety along the road. According to the state, 83 crashes happened on this stretch of Mooresville Road between June 2004 and May 2007. Thirty percent of those were rear-end collisions.”I’m worried about safety,” said Sylvia McMullen, who lives in a neighborhood off Mooresville Road.
“For those who have children, with a highway that close, they’ll have to watch them very carefully,” McMullen said.
Solberg said the comments collected Tuesday will be passed on to design groups and will play a role in determining the next steps. Further public hearings will be held before construction begins.
“This is a cumulative process,” Solberg said. “They live out here, and we don’t.”