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Kannapolis council looks to widen NC Highway 3

KANNAPOLIS — The Kannapolis City Council spent the majority of its time Monday evening discussing a 2.5-mile widening of N.C. Highway 3.
The project will create a four-lane road from Kannapolis Parkway heading east to Dale Earnhardt Boulevard. It will include drainage improvements, curb and gutter and sidewalks along the route. Estimated cost of utility improvements is $3 million.
The current schedule by the N.C. Department of Transportation is to begin right-of-way acquisition this year, and start the three-year construction project in 2015.
In conjunction with the widening project, council members unanimously adopted a capital project ordinance for the Mooresville Road (N.C. 3) water main project. Additionally, council unanimously adopted a reimbursement resolution, which states that the city intends to borrow funds for this project at a later date.
“We are going on record to state that we will reimburse ourselves for any expenditures prior to financing,” explained Eric Davis, finance director.
Wilmer Melton, director of public works, made the presentation to council, along with Scott Cole, DOT’s deputy division engineer, and Dre Major and Jamille Robbins, project engineers.
About 75 percent of the project is planned, Melton said, with a central median throughout, and a “super street” concept that includes bulb-outs for U-turns. There will be no light signal at the Bethpage Road intersection, but the existing signal at Rainbow Drive will be maintained.
There will also be a roundabout installed at Mason Street and Franklin Avenue in order to “calm” traffic, Cole said. He noted that the road was designed to accommodate future development and growth for the next 20 years.
Councilman Ryan Dayvault asked whether affected property owners had been contacted. Cole said that was the next phase of the project.
Melton said that some mill homes near Cabarrus Health Alliance have received historic district designation. Major said that DOT will meet with those homeowners to establish an agreement on their property. Mayor Pro Tem Roger Haas asked if such meetings would delay the project, but Major said those types of scenarios are built in to the process.
“There have been several delays but we’re still on schedule for construction,” he said.
“It’s a dichotomy because there’s nothing to preserve these houses once the road has been built,” said City Attorney Walter Safrit. “These houses are old and they’re not gonna last much longer. The value of the land will become more than the value of the house.”
Major said DOT would meet with homeowners in the next two weeks. “I’m feeling really good about where we are.”
Council also approved a motion allowing the Kannapolis Police Department to use a software program to locate stolen items that are pawned. The software, Leads Online, is the largest investigative software program in the country, and is used by some 2,400 law enforcement agencies, according to Police Chief J.W. Chavis.
“It cuts down the time on finding a stolen piece of property that’s been pawned,” Chavis said. He explained that clerical personnel are responsible for data entry and cataloging of pawn tickets, which can create a backlog of several months. Additionally, investigators must pick up the tickets from local pawn shops. With the software, pawn shop dealers can upload the information daily. The program is free to them.
Chavis cited several examples in which stolen merchandise was recovered within a day or two of being pawned.
“It’s a win-win for everybody, really,” Chavis said. “The software has an annual fee of $6,000, but in a couple of weeks, we cleared three breaking-and-entering cases. You can’t really put a price on clearing crimes that easily. Technology is helping us out in a real good way on this.”
He added that all seven pawn brokers within the city limits have received notification about the software program and all are cooperating.
In other business, the council proclaimed February as Black Heritage Month.
Council approved the following items on its consent agenda:
• Re-appointed Rick Towell to continue serving on the Firemen’s Local Relief Board of Trustees as treasurer.
• Approved and certified the current roster of members of the Kannapolis Fire Department.
• Adopted a resolution to zone Summers Walk and adopted a resolution of consistency statement.
• Approved a contribution of $5,500 for the Downtown Kannapolis Web site.
Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.

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