Stretch of Old Beatty Ford being widened

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 7, 2011

By Karissa Minn
SALISBURY — N.C. Department of Transportation announced this week that it plans to widen the lanes and add shoulders along 7.4 miles of Old Beatty Ford Road to improve safety.
“This road has evolved from an old wagon trail back in the early 1900s, and its design does not meet the needs of today’s traveling public,” said NCDOT Division 9 Engineer Pat Ivey in a press release. “By making improvements, we can help lower the risk of accidents and provide a safer commute for motorists.”
The narrow road connects residents in Rowan County with Kannapolis, China Grove, Rockwell, Landis and northern Cabarrus County. The number of accidents resulting in death or injury is higher on this road than on similar two-lane roads across the state, Ivey said in an interview Wednesday.
“The entire stretch of Old Beatty Ford Road has been a concern of residents for a long time,” he said. “We looked at the entire corridor… and looked at the crashes, and this segment concerns us the most.”
Between October 2007 and September 2010, there were 98 crashes on Old Beatty Ford Road between Lentz Road and Lower Stone Church Road. Of those, two were fatal and 48 resulted in injury. Ivey said most of the crashes seem to be caused by running off the road or dipping into the low shoulder.
The project will widen the lanes, which now range from 9 to 11 feet in width, to the current design standard of 12 feet and build 4-foot-wide paved shoulders along that 7.4-mile segment. NCDOT will need to acquire right of way for the project along this entire section of the road.
Becky Anderson, who lives and runs a business on Old Beatty Ford Road, said “widening it would be fantastic.” Large trucks squeeze dangerously close as they pass from opposite directions, she said, and slight miscorrections cause too many crashes.
“If you get your wheel over that little white line on the side, you’re going in the ditch and you’re going to roll over,” Anderson said. “We have had three or four wrecks right here in our front yard.”
Anderson said she didn’t mind that the wider road would replace some of the property owned by her and her husband, Billy.
“It hasn’t been that long since somebody plowed through the ditch into the front yard,” she said. “It might as well be paved.”
NCDOT will share information about the project with local residents at a workshop from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday. Participants are welcome to drop in at Bostian Elementary School, located at 4245 Old Beatty Ford Road in China Grove, at any time during those hours.
During the meeting, there will be no formal presentation. NCDOT staff members will talk one-on-one with residents about the goals of the project and use maps to show where the department will conduct environmental studies prior to construction. The department encourages the public to ask questions and offer feedback on the project.
For more information contact Karen Reynolds, NCDOT Project Planning Engineer, by calling 919-707-6038 or by email at kreynolds@ncdot. gov.
NCDOT will provide auxiliary aids and services for disabled persons who wish to participate in this meeting. Anyone needing special services should contact Reynolds as soon as possible.