Transportation improvements on the road to Cabarrus County

Transportation improvements on the road to Cabarrus County

By Dave Vieser. While state and local officials continue to debate the wisdom of constructing toll lanes on I-77, there’s a clear road ahead for widening I-85 in Cabarrus County. The $243 million needed for the project is being funded the old fashioned way—by the state.

The interstate widening is actually just one of several major transportation improvements slated for Cabarrus County during the next 10 years. All told, there are over two dozen projects within the county on the state’s Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), which prioritizes construction funding and scheduling of transportation projects statewide.

Topping the list is the widening of a 13.6-mile stretch of Interstate 85 from Exit 55 (Highway 73) northeast to Exit 68, at the route 601/29 connector road in Rowan County. “The section from NC 73 in Cabarrus County to Lane Street is currently under construction,” said DOT spokeswoman Jordan Ashley Baker “and it should be completed in late 2017.” The total project cost for both the Cabarrus and Rowan County portions amounts to $433 million.

Baker said that the section from Lane Street to Exit 68, which includes only about a mile in Cabarrus County, will be done later and doesn’t have a firm completion date at this time. When completed, I-85 will be an eight-lane highway throughout Cabarrus County, matching the width south of the construction area.

NC Highway 3: Construction of a $33.5 million widening plan in Kannapolis is slated to begin in 2017, and will be completed within 30 months. The property needed to accommodate the wider road is already beginning to be acquired by the state.

The proposed improvements will widen 2.5 miles of North Carolina Highway 3, also known as Mooresville Road, between Kannapolis Parkway and Loop Road North (adjacent to the North Carolina Research Campus) to a four-lane superstreet with sidewalks and bike paths on both sides. Currently Highway 3 in that area is a two-lane road, prone to frequent congestion.

“This widening will provide us with connectivity between the expanding businesses and residential areas on Kannapolis Parkway and the North Carolina Research Campus/ Downtown District,” said Kannapolis City Manager Mike Legg. “These two economic development drivers of our economy are growing and naturally need to be better connected.”

Derita Road: Property acquisition is also under way to facilitate the widening of a 2.6 mile portion of Derita Road from Concord Mills Boulevard to Poplar Tent Road. This thoroughfare carries a heavy volume of traffic to and from the Concord Mills and Speedway area, as well as nearby Concord Regional Airport and its’ expanding business campus.

“The widening of Derita Road will open up key industrial property near the airport, and also improve access to the I-485 loop” said Patrick Coughlin, CEO of the Cabarrus County Chamber of Commerce.

Other projects in Cabarrus County scheduled to begin later in the STIP ten year cycle, which runs through the year 2025, include:

  • Widening of Highway 73 from US 29 to Poplar Tent Road.
  • Widening of George Liles Parkway from Highway 49 to south of I-85 in Concord.
  • Improvements to the intersection of Dale Earnhardt Blvd and Cannon Blvd in Kannapolis.

Also on-going during the next 10 years will be the replacement of a number of bridges on state maintained roads, installation of sidewalks at various locations in Concord and Kannapolis, additional left turn lanes at selected locations, and the construction of the Irish Buffalo Creek Greenway in Kannapolis. Some of the funding for the sidewalks and greenway will be provided by the local municipalities, as well as the state.

“Its’ clear that the state and federal government as well as our local governments, are investing heavily in Cabarrus County’s transportation infrastructure,” Coughlin said.


2 Responses to “Transportation improvements on the road to Cabarrus County”

  1. Looks to me they are preparing for all the LKN businesses who will be moving away from the I77 Toll lane project area….

    Posted by Pattie Marshall | July 6, 2015, 6:42 pm
  2. Pattie Marshall, I agree, since Transportation Department is widening I-85 and the are outsourcing I-77 to Ferrovial, some businesses on the 77 may be ready to move.

    Posted by No Tolls On I-77 | February 1, 2016, 4:20 pm

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