Long-awaited Newsome Road widening project completed months ahead of schedule
By Natalie Anderson
SALISBURY — A few months ahead of schedule, a long-awaited widening project along Newsome Road is now complete.
Improvements to the heavily trafficked 1-mile area that connects Bringle Ferry Road to Stokes Ferry Road include a widening of the original 20-foot wide ribbon pavement section to a 30-foot wide asphalt section, with 2.5-foot curbs and gutters along each side. The new road is striped with 11-foot travel lanes along with 4-foot bicycle lanes on each side and 5-foot sidewalks running along the west side of the road.
Construction began last February and was expected to last until April. City Engineering Director Wendy Brindle said it’s the largest project funded by NCDOT Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Funds since she began her role with the city in 1996.
“It’s one that we’re very proud of,” Brindle said. “We’re happy to see it completed before we expected.”
After city council members approved the project in 2014, it was delayed for years due to issues with federal funding, which was funneled through the North Carolina Department of Transportation. And while the original agreement totaled nearly $2.12 million, Brindle told the Post the price tag increased to $2.7 million as the delay was accompanied with an increase in prices.
The federal funding required a 20% match, or about $1 million, from the city. The 2019-20 city budget included funding for the project, but after extending it into the 2020-21 fiscal year, $1.58 million was appropriated.
The city’s contracted with JT Russell & Sons, Inc., a family-owned highway construction company. City council members also entered into a contract with Alley, Williams, Carmen and King, a civil engineering company in Kannapolis, to complete inspections as required with state funds. That cost totaled about $323,000, with the city responsible for a 20% match.
Mary Rosser, director of the Pedal Factory Community Bike Center and member of the city’s Greenway Committee, said she rode along the improved road a few days ago using the bike lanes and felt protected from traffic. She encourages the city to continue such projects and expand upon the Newsome Road project to make more areas safer for pedestrians and bicyclists.
“It’s a really good start at building a network of bikeways around town,” she said. “It says something about the direction the city is going.”
Dylan Horne, a bicycle mechanic at The Pedal Factory and member of the Greenway Committee, rode along the stretch on Tuesday. And with many houses located along Newsome Road, Horne was glad to see the improvements allow nearby residents to safely walk and shop in that area.
A recent but separate extension project in the area was the creation of Market Station Drive, which extends Newsome Road from Bringle Ferry Road to Faith Road.
“It’s encouraging to see the city put this effort in,” Horne said. “It’s a huge step forward in terms of making it more accessible.”
Horne raised a concern with vehicles being parked within the bike lanes, saying it’s important for locals to know trash cans, debris or other obstacles can be hazardous to bicyclists.
Council members on Feb. 3 amended chapter 13, article X of the code of ordinances to prohibit parking at all times along the entire extent of Newsome Road.
John Struzick, who lives off of Newsome Road, told the Post he was a frequently complainer about the years-long delay with the project. Due to the heavy traffic, he added that he was always fearful for those who lived in the area and needed to walk to a nearby store.
But now that the project is complete, he has no complaints.
“It’s one of the best things Salisbury has done since I’ve been here,” Struzick said. “It was an eyesore to look at and certainly a hazard for anyone who went down that road.”
Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.
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