Rowan County selects company to conduct study on Long Ferry Road corridor

Published 12:07 am Tuesday, April 19, 2022

SALISBURY — The Rowan County Board of Commissioners on Monday selected a company to conduct a corridor study on Long Ferry Road.

The county will pay multinational engineering design firm WSP USA, Inc, to complete the study, which will “evaluate increases in vehicular and truck traffic and access to several prospective non-residential properties.” The study will also “help determine the best traffic control methods to supplement the overall street network.” Traffic and crash data will be taken into account, in addition to planned and expected future growth on Long Ferry Road.

WSP was one of five companies who submitted a proposal to complete the study. The firm received the highest score based on four categories, including qualification of staff and corridor study experience. The county will pay WSP $37,497 for its services, but the county will be partially reimbursed with federal aid through the NC Department of Transportation.

The study will be conducted as Red Rock Development moves forward with plans to construct an 380-acre industrial park on Long Ferry Road, not far from I-85 and Chewy’s fulfillment center. The park would include five total buildings, four on the south side of the road and one on the north side.

To determine the impact the industrial park will have on the road, the NCDOT completed a traffic impact analysis for the project and determined several improvements. Improvements include the addition of lights on both the northbound and southbound ramps at the intersection of I-85 and Long Ferry Road and at the intersection of Long Ferry and Front Creek Road. Several right and left turn lanes will be added to various entrances to the industrial park. A right turn lane starting at the I-85 northbound exit ramp and extending to the entrance to Chewy will also be added.

The NCDOT’s traffic analysis and the county’s commissioned study are separate, but do overlap in many ways.

The scope of work for the study shows it will focus on an approximately 3-mile stretch of Long Ferry Road from its intersection with Salisbury Avenue west of I-85 to Leonard Road east of I-85, according to the study’s scope of work.

County Manager Aaron Church said the goal is to have the corridor study completed as soon as possible.

In other meeting business:

• Commissioners cleared the way for a construction company to build an office and warehouse building on Peach Orchard Road.

The board unanimously approved rezoning a parcel of land at 1505 Peach Orchard Road from rural residential to 85-ED-2, a zoning that allows for a wider range of economic uses. The land is not far from I-85 and adjacent to the Dillard’s distribution center. A single-family dwelling is currently located on the property, but most of the land is wooded or cleared.

Connie Merrell, who requested the rezoning, said her husband’s construction business Structural Unlimited plans to build a 5,000-8,000-square-foot building on the property and use yard space to store materials and machines.

Merrell said Structural Unlimited works throughout the Southeast and most of the company’s employees work at construction sites a majority of the time. The company already has an office in Charlotte, but Merrell said this location would be convenient for logistical purposes and for the company’s employees.

• Commissioners authorized county staff to pursue funding through the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee’s Congressionally Directed Spending Request process. The requests will be made through North Carolina’s U.S. Senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr. Commissioners also approved allowing Chair Greg Edds to write to Tillis and Burr in support of the funding and projects.

The county will go after federal funding for three ongoing projects: the transformation of a portion of West End Plaza into an Agricultural Center, the establishment of a detox crisis center and road and sewer improvements for the industrial park being planned on Long Ferry Road.

• Finance Director Jim Howden updated the board on the county’s current financial standing. Rowan County’s expenditures were $113 million through March, meaning the county has spent about $4 million more so far this fiscal year than last fiscal year. Revenues are also up. The county’s revenue was $133 million through March, a $2 million increase from the year prior. Through December, the county collected $17.8 million in sales tax, a $2.3 million increase from the previous year. In December alone, the county collected $3.5 million in sales tax, an increase from the $2.9 million collected in Dec. 2020.

• Commissioners approved a contract with Davco Roofing and Sheet Metal for the company to replace the Rowan County Courthouse roof for $451,000.

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About Ben Stansell

Ben Stansell covers business, county government and more for the Salisbury Post. He joined the staff in August 2020 after graduating from the University of Alabama. Email him at ben.stansell@salisburypost.com.

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