Railroad-related construction planned for Landis, Kannapolis

Published 12:07 am Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Department of Transportation is already planning its next railroad-related road project.

Department of Transportation employees began collecting public comments Tuesday for a road project intended to build another grade-separated crossing at the city limits of Landis and Kannpolis. State officials held a public meeting at the Kannapolis Amtrak Station and will continue collecting comments by phone, email or mail until Dec. 18.

Transportation Department officials are proposing three separate options for a grade-separated railroad crossing near Landis’ southern border with Kannapolis. In all three options, the proposed project would build a road connecting Cannon Boulevard to Main Street and Airport Road. All three options would also widen Airport Road from Main Street, adding bike lanes and sidewalks. At some intersections involved in the project, the state agency would study whether it’s better to build a roundabout or use traffic signals.

Project Engineer Nancy Horne said the city of Kannapolis specifically requested the state investigate roundabouts as an option.

The estimated costs of the three options range from $7.1 million to $10.1 million, according to Horne.

The project at Landis’ and Kannapolis’ city limits would be the latest of several projects intended to prevent accidents on railroad tracks. A multi-county project that’s currently underway has resulted in the closure of several railroad crossings in southern Rowan County.  Called the Piedmont Improvement Program, it aims to improve rail safety.

Two of the proposed options for the project in Landis and Kannapolis would build a new road from the intersection of Airport Road and Main Street to Solution Works Drive and South Chapel Street. In one of the two, the new road would go under railroad tracks. In the other, the road goes over the tracks.

Another option would build a road from the intersection of Airport Road and Main Street to Hickory and South Chapel streets. The road would go under railroad tracks. A left turn lane would be added from U.S. Highway 29 to Hickory Street.

Horne said Department of Transportation employees would use public comments as a way to determine which option the agency chooses. A stakeholders meeting for the project is scheduled to occur in early January, she said. By May, the agency would have a finalized route chosen.

Construction and other parts of the project are currently undetermined.

Horne said another public meeting for the project would occur at some point in 2016, where Transportation Department employees would present the preferred route to members of the public.

Once the route is finalized, officials still have to secure funding for the project. Environmental studies and right-of-way acquisition also come before construction.

To obtain additional information about the project or submit comments, contact Horne at nhorne@ncdot.gov or 919-715-3686. Nearby residents can also contact Natasha Simmons at nsimmons@hntb.com or 919-424-0468. Horne said she or Simmons could provide maps and describe the project if needed.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.