• 36°

Public meeting allows residents to weigh in on Julian Road changes

KANNAPOLIS — Big changes are coming to Julian Road, and landowners and residents in the area have mixed feelings.

Many voiced either excitement or disdain about the tentative plans during a public meeting hosted by the North Carolina Department of Transportation on Tuesday night.

At the informal question-and-answer session, plans for two separate projects were discussed. One is the closure of the Henderson Grove Church Road rail crossing; the other is the widening of Julian Road from U.S. 601 to Interstate 85.

Officials say the Henderson Grove Church Road rail crossing must be closed as the rail line is part of the proposed southeastern U.S. high-speed rail corridor. To increase safety, Federal Rail Administration guidelines and DOT policy call for closure or grade separation at high-speed rail crossings.

Renovations to Julian Road are based on safety. The crash rate for the area is more than double the statewide and critical rates: 628.43 crashes per 100 million vehicles. Statewide rates are 248.47 crashes per 100 million vehicles.

Proposed improvements to Julian Road include an extended sidewalk; a traffic signal at the Julian Road-Corporate Circle intersection; new, extended and restriped turn lanes; and more.

Tuesday’s meeting started at 4 p.m. By 4:30, more than 20 people had come to view the plans and voice opinions on the changes.

Deacon Berlin Torrence and his wife, Julia, members of Henderson Grove Baptist Church, came to see how the traffic changes would affect their church.

“We knew it was going to be done, but we need to know where and what. We don’t like to be in the dark,” Berlin Torrence said. “People at church are going to be asking.”

Kirby Ritchie, who owns land in the area of the proposed connector road in the Henderson Grove project, said he fells the project is a waste of tax dollars.

“Why would you put a two-mile road in when you could put a quarter-mile or a third of a mile road in?” Ritchie asked. “It’s going to destroy not only some of my land, but I’ve got neighbors that I think a whole lot of, and it’s going to destroy their farm.”

His brother, Floyd Ritchie, was equally opposed.

“I didn’t like it when it was first proposed several years back, and I like it even less now,” he said. “… It’s got me concerned. We’ve got a cousin that that road splits his property right down the middle. He’ll have nothing left on either side.”

Brad Bost and Tim Ervin, who own businesses near where the new traffic light will be, had much more positive views of the upcoming changes.

“This is much needed to have the light here at Julian and West Ritchie. It’s been needed for a long time,” said Bost, who owns a trucking business. “It should improve the traffic flow all the way through.”

Both men said West Ritchie is used as a shortcut to get to the interstate from Jake Alexander Boulevard. That leads to congestion in the mornings and evenings, with a multitude of accidents, they said.

“The widening to four lanes in that area and the turn lanes will be a great improvement to all of us,” said Ervin, owner of a trailer business in the same location. “It will be better for our employers and customers. … This is just the way we would have drawn it, probably.”

Comments

News

Nesting no more: Eagles appear to have moved on from Duke’s Buck Station

Business

The Smoke Pit leaving downtown Salisbury for standalone building on Faith Road

Education

Shoutouts

High School

High school football: Hornets’ Gaither set the tone against West

Local

Salisbury to show off new fire station

Education

Livingstone College to host virtual Big Read events this month

Local

City makes some appointments to local boards, holds off on others to seek women, appointees of color

Education

Education briefs: RCCC instructor honored by Occupational Therapy Association

Local

Second quarter financial update shows promising outlook for city’s budget

Columnists

Genia Woods: Let’s talk about good news in Salisbury

Local

City attorney will gather more information for Salisbury nondiscrimination ordinance

Education

North Hills planning to hold May fundraiser in person

East Spencer

Developers aim to transform former Dunbar School site into multi-purpose community development

Education

Knox student organizing event to get community cycling

Education

Decision on Essie Mae charter appeal expected Thursday

Nation/World

House passes sweeping voting rights bill over GOP opposition

Nation/World

Police uncover ‘possible plot’ by militia to breach Capitol

Nation/World

States rapidly expanding vaccine access as supplies surge

News

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper receives COVID-19 vaccine

News

North Carolina health officials urge schools to reopen

Crime

In letter, PETA criticizes Salisbury Police for K-9 video

Coronavirus

Three deaths, 29 new COVID-19 positives reported

Crime

Blotter: Bullet holes found in woman’s Park Avenue apartment

Crime

Man faces assault charges for domestic incident