• 66°

Beatty Ford Road exit still years off after not making state list

An I-85 exit at Beatty Ford Road is still a few years off after a new state formula didn’t score the project high enough to be funded through the 10-year transportation improvement plan.

Dozens of projects in Rowan County made the list, including the widening of I-85 and additional lanes on Julian Road. The new formula that decided the projects came from a 2013 law that was designed to take politics out of transportation project decisions.

Department of Transportation Division 9 Engineer Pat Ivey said the Beatty Ford Road exit could become a part of a future transportation improvement plan, but, for now, it didn’t score high enough to receive part of the $16 million in available funds for Division-9-level projects.

“The bottom line is the money ran out before we got down to the project,” Ivey said.

He said some projects in the state’s latest transportation improvement plan could be paused for various reason, which could allow the Beatty Ford Road exit to make the list.

One limiting factor for it not being included this year, Ivey said, is environmental studies and planning work haven’t been completed.

“That would all have to be done before we let the project for construction,” he said.

Though the state omitted a Beatty Ford Road interchange from the list, the road isn’t excluded completely from the state’s transportation improvement plan. The plan lists relocating Old Beatty Ford road from Bostian Road to Lentz Road in the current fiscal year — FY 2015.

Ivey said Beatty Ford Road and its bridge over I-85 would be built to accommodate a future interchange.

With Beatty Ford Road being planned as a future interstate exit location, Lee Withers, chairman of the Rowan-Cabarrus Metropolitan Planning Organization, said the most pressing issue is securing enough money to make construction possible, regardless of whether it includes state or federal funds.

Withers focused on the economic development opportunities as a reason for the project being funded.

“Commerce doesn’t happen without accessibility,” Withers said about the Beatty Ford Road exit. “So, if no one can access southern Rowan and no one can access what we do have, then how do we grow our micro-economy? We’ve got to make it easy for new business to want to locate to southern Rowan County.”

A presentation by the State Department of Transportation, posted on the Metropolitan Planning Organization’s website, lists the total pre-construction work needed for the exit at 70 months, which is just under six years. Some of the pre-construction work required would be relocating utilities — electricity and water — purchasing property, an environmental assessment and right of way design plans.

Besides giving Landis an Interstate exit, Withers said the Beatty Ford Road project would be a faster route than I-85 for motorists to get to the N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis.

“We can only get closer to the top of the list, as time goes by and as projects happen,” he said. “The least we can do is use it as an economic development tool and say ‘this is what we’ve got planned.'”

Aside from the economic implications, State Rep. Carl Ford, a Republican whose district includes Kannapolis, China Grove and Landis, mentioned safety concerns. The two full exits closest to China Grove and Landis are eight miles apart. The closest exit to the north of China Grove is Webb Road. The closest to the south is at the Rowan-Cabarrus border — Lane Street.

“That’s a long stretch without an interchange,” Ford said in a previous interview, after the transportation plan was announced. “It’s turned into a safety issue too. We’ve had to fly some people out that weren’t in that bad of shape because we couldn’t get to them any other way.”

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246

Comments

Coronavirus

Afternoon, evening COVID-19 vaccination clinic planned Thursday

Crime

Concord man charged with woman’s murder in drive-by shooting

Ask Us

Ask Us: Have city, county elected officials received COVID-19 vaccine?

Local

City gives away nearly 100 trees during ‘We Dig Salisbury’ event

Local

Political Notebook: Bitzer expects most ‘Trump-like’ candidate to be favorite in state’s Senate race

Crime

Blotter: Concord man arrested in Rowan for indecent liberties with children

Coronavirus

Half of US adults have received at least one COVID-19 shot

Nation/World

Police: FedEx shooter legally bought guns used in shooting

News

Hester Ford, oldest living American, dies at 115 … or 116?

Local

Size of pipeline spill again underestimated in North Carolina

BREAKING NEWS

Kannapolis Police searching for suspect who fled scene of homicide

Education

RSS superintendent talks district’s future, strategic plan survey

News

Complaints and fines pile up against unpermitted landfill in southwest Rowan County

College

Catawba baseball: Crowd comes out to say goodbye to Newman Park

Lifestyle

History is a great teacher: Farming has helped shape Rowan County

Business

‘A safe place for them’: Timeless Wigs and Marvelous Things celebrates fifth anniversary

China Grove

County will hear request for more tree houses, hobbit-style homes in China Grove

Coronavirus

Livingstone College partners with Health Department to administer 500 Pfizer vaccinations

Education

‘Elite and it shows’: Staff at Partners in Learning at Novant celebrate news of national accreditation

Business

Biz Roundup: Food Lion earns Energy Star award for 20th consecutive year

Columns

Ester Marsh: What body type are you?

Nation/World

The queen says goodbye to Philip, continues her reign alone

Nation/World

Worldwide COVID-19 death toll tops a staggering 3 million

Nation/World

US, China agree to cooperate on climate crisis with urgency