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Proposed interstate exit in East Spencer placed on Cabarrus-Rowan priority list

By Shavonne Potts
shavonne.potts@salisburypost.com

EAST SPENCER — An Interstate 85 exit into East Spencer has been added to the Cabarrus-Rowan Metropolitan Planning Organization’s 2050 Metropolitan Transportation Plan priority project list, the organization’s executive director Phil Conrad told East Spencer officials Monday night.

Conrad spoke to the board to inform them that during a recent MPO meeting the organization added the plan to its priority list. In order to get federal funding, a project has to be on the list to be evaluated.

He said there’s been some preliminary work done, interest at the state level and interest from the division office in Winston-Salem.

Conrad said the I-85 exit is projected to be completed by 2036, but it could be finished sooner or later.

It’s estimated to cost $15 million, Conrad said.

Once the project is assigned a Transportation Improvement Program number, it can begin the pre-construction process, which includes project design work. The TIP is a multi-year capital improvement document that includes scheduling and funding for construction projects in the state.

He also discussed the region’s long-range transportation plan.

Greg Edds, MPO chairman and Rowan County Commission chairman, also attended the meeting. Edds said he wanted to reinforce the continued commitment to projects in East Spencer.

Scott Shelton, with Rowan County EDC, also attended the meeting to update the board about activities that include work being done on the Dunbar Center and Rusher property. There’s some interest in the property, which includes over 80 acres just off Andrews Street at exit 79.

The board also:

• Discussed recognizing full-time and part-time employees for years of service and a holiday bonus.

The board had previously budgeted for a holiday party but with COVID-19 gathering restrictions they decided to use that money for a bonus for employees.

• Came up with a number of streets that need to be repaved or patched in the upcoming fiscal year. Each member submitted a list of streets they believed were in dire need of repairs. The list will be pared down to those in the most need and when the paving could be expected.

• Hired town attorney Tom Brooke to provide legal services for its Community Development Block Grant. Those services would include conducting title searches, easement preparation and easement purchase offers.

Brooke has been a practicing attorney for 40 years, with much of his practice involving title searches and real estate closings.

• Received a report from Police Chief Sharon Hovis who shared crime rate statistics from the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation.

The agency, like many other law enforcement agencies, submits yearly crime statistics that are then compiled by the SBI.

Hovis said the totals show the department made a total of 56 arrests in 2019 that included one murder, one robbery, three vehicle thefts and three impaired driving.

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