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Rowan County delegation lobbied for East Spencer and High Rock Lake exit during Raleigh trip

By Samuel Motley
samuel.motley@salisburypost.com 

SALISBURY — On Tuesday, a Rowan Chamber business and community delegation went to Raleigh to advocate for an Interstate 85 exit at McCanless Road and Correll Street, near East Spencer

The access would connect an existing underpass to I-85 with exits and entrances ramps. This proposed access is located between existing 1-85 exits at East Innes and Andrews streets.

Notably, the introduction of new entrance-exit ramps is geared to serve three main purposes:

• alleviate traffic in East Spencer to and from the Meridian Brick Plant and Boral Industries via Correll Street

• offer more direct access to High Rock Lake and its new subdivisions

• offer more direct access to Dan Nicholas Park

The delegation’s effort to promote the exit as a transportation priority culminated in a meeting with N.C. Department of Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon.

“Secretary Trogdon said that DOT already has preliminary design and cost estimate of $50 million,” said Elaine Spalding, president of the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce. “Our task now is to get the project on the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) priority project list.”

Rowan County Board of Commissioners Chairman Greg Edds said he was surprised to learn that preliminary work was and costs analysis were already ongoing.

“It appears to be on a positive track,” Edds said.

The exit is an exciting opportunity for Rowan County as the county prepares for growth, said Karla Foster, a member of the Rowan delegation to Raleigh.

Spalding echoed this sentiment, saying the meeting with Trogdon went well.

Delegation members also had the opportunity to meet with N.C. Reps. Harry Warren, Julia Howard and Larry Pittman as well as Sen. Carl Ford. Together, they discussed state priority projects in Rowan, including education and workforce development as well as other transportation and infrastructure projects.

Rowan County is “working really closely” with state legislature officials in Rowan as well, Edds said, but it is nice to deliver and review the priorities on their turf.

It gives a “real focus” to the priorities, Edds said.

The legislators were on board with the priorities, he said.

Foster added yesterday’s trip illustrates how accessible the county’s legislatures are.

The trip concluded with the Rowan delegation participating in a Charlotte Regional Business Alliance reception.

It is important to have positive contact with other counties that Rowan shares infrastructure projects with, Foster said. This was an opportunity to discuss “best practices” as well, she said.

And, this was an opportunity to meet with the CEO of the Charlotte Regional Alliance Janet Labar. The alliance formed as a merger between the existing Charlotte Regional Partnership and Charlotte chamber.

In other business on the trip:

• Delegates and legislators discussed how to close the skills gap for those entering the workforce with programs at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College as well as the importance of high standards for academic achievement for Rowan-Salisbury Schools in today’s workforce. These priority items were discussed as an education and workforce priority.

• Delegates discussed extending the runway to 6,500 feet and developing an airport parkway at Mid-Carolina Airport, formerly known as Rowan County Airport. This was included as a transportation priority.

• Delegates focused attention on completing construction of four interstate lanes on I-85 from Salisbury to Charlotte as well as the construction of Exit 65 on I-85 at Old Beatty Ford Road. These were both included as a transportation priority.

Other members of the delegation included: President and CEO of Rowan Economic Development Commission Rod Crider; Denise Hallett, representing Vulcan Materials; Vice President of Government Relations for Food Lion Teross Young; Novant Health representative Gary Blabon; Livingstone representative Pete Teague; and Terry Osborne, with the Rowan-Kannapolis ABC Board.

Contact reporter Samuel Motley at 704-797-4264. 

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