State transportation plan funds new Rowan County road construction

Published 12:01 am Friday, June 30, 2017

By Josh Bergeron

SALISBURY — Rowan County gained a few, new road construction projects in the latest version of the state’s transportation plan.

The latest draft, released this week, allocates funding for transportation projects across North Carolina for the the 2018 fiscal year to the 2027 fiscal year. When compared to the prior version, the newest draft includes three new road construction projects — a widening of U.S. 52 in southeastern Rowan County, a Granite Quarry bypass on U.S. 52 and construction of sidewalks and bike lanes on a stretch of road from Kannapolis to China Grove.

New projects were added to the transportation plan, in part, because Department of Transportation staff were overestimating inflation, Division 9 Engineer Pat Ivey said.

“The bottom line is that we were fiscally able to do these projects with the money we have,” Ivey said.

He said the newest version of the transportation plan should be approved by the N.C. Board of Transportation in August.

Notable Rowan County road projects funded before the latest version of the transportation plan include: widening a section of Mooresville Road near Salisbury, building a new road known as Airport Parkway, building a new road through a shopping complex between I-85 and East Innes Street, an extension of Kimball Road in China Grove and widening a portion of Julian Road.

Also funded in the transportation plan are the following projects: a pedestrian walkway installed underneath railroad tracks at the Salisbury train station, a greenway from Spencer to the Yadkin River and the purchase of land at the Rowan County Airport.

Michael Wells, the state transportation board member for Division 9, said projects funded in the transportation plan will improve safety, economic development and lives of citizens.

Funded projects scheduled to start construction in the 2017-2018 fiscal year, which starts Saturday, include: the road project in the shopping complex between I-85 and East Innes Street, the Kimball Road extension and the addition of bike lanes to Newsome Road. The Rowan County Airport land purchase is also scheduled to be funded in 2018.

Many other projects are several years away.

Despite being funded, however, many of the projects — especially the new additions — are several years from starting construction. The Granite Quarry bypass, for example, was first discussed decades ago and isn’t schedule to start construction until 2027. It’s also projected to be the most expensive project in Rowan, excluding interstate construction that has already started.

Mooresville Road’s widening is also projected to be one of the more expensive projects. Like the Granite Quarry bypass, it’s scheduled to start construction in 2027.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.