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STEELE CREEK NEWS

Highway 160 Resurfacing of Highway 160 South of RiverGate to Begin Soon

(July 16, 2021) The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) has announced that they have awarded a contract for milling, resurfacing, and reconstructing shoulders on several primary roads including NC 160 (Steele Creek Road) between Hoover Creek Boulevard (at RiverGate) and the South Carolina line. Work can get underway as soon as July 26, wrapping up by August 1, 2022. ​

After this segment of the NC 160 widening project was delayed, NCDOT decided to go ahead and resurface it. The northern portion of Steele Creek Road (between the Berewick Town Center and Highway 49) was resurfaced a few years ago.

See the NCDOT press release: Improvements Coming to Mecklenburg County Roads.

The following was previously posted on this web site in February 2021:

Widening of Highway 160 has been Delayed Again

(February 14, 2021) The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) has quietly updated its 2020-2029 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), which identifies transportation projects that will receive funding between 2020 and 2029.

The widening of Highway 160 (Steele Creek Road) has been divided into two projects and delayed by several years:

U-5766A NC 49 to the South Carolina State Line Section A

Right of Way acquisition and utility relocation to begin in FY2029, construction is shown as post year (beyond 2029)

U-5766B NC 49 to I-485 Section B

Right of way acquisition and utility relocation to begin in FY2024, construction to begin in FY2027

As recently as 2017, construction was expected to begin in 2021. (See Widening of Highway 160 has been Accelerated to 2021.) In January 2019, construction was delayed for three years to 2024. (See Widening of Highway 160 has been Delayed for Three Years.) Before 2014, widening of 160 had not been projected to begin before 2035 (See Residents Get Updates on Highway 160 & New Retail at Annual Meeting), so the projected dates for widening Highway 160 have fluctuated greatly over the years.     

The NCDOT has experienced massive revenue losses over the last nine months due to COVID-19. These losses will continue into 2021 as well. They have been losing roughly $50 million dollars a month in revenue from gas tax sales and DMV fees. With folks staying home and not driving and then not buying vehicles on top of that, revenues are down significantly. That has forced them to back up and reassess their capital program. Most projects across the State have now been pushed back anywhere from 2 to 7 years. Most of the projects across the State are currently suspended and have been for as long as 18 months now.

This is an important project for NCDOT as they have heard very clearly from residents over the years about how badly it is needed. These schedules could change if there is a Federal COVID Relief Bill passed. NCDOT will be looking for other opportunities over the next few years to try and move this back up if additional funding becomes available. At this time, the project remains on suspension, and given the scale and expense of this project, it is likely to remain on suspension at least for the short term.

Click on the image below to view a detailed, amended schedule. (Or see Page 276 of the current STIP document HERE.)

Highway 160

The updated cost for this project is $151,700,000, which includes $89M for right of way purchases, $13.9M for utility relocation, and $48.8M for construction. Cost increases are common with projects across the state. The construction market is strong right now, leading to contractors giving higher pricing for work. A lot of the cost increases are for right of way. Due to the extremely strong real estate market, there have been massive increases in property values over the last few years. It is now costing much more to acquire right of way to construct projects.

Section A is from the South Carolina state line to South Tryon Street, and Section B is from South Tryon Street to I-485 (but actually extends to north of Shopton Road). Plans call for Highway 160 to be widened to four lanes with a grassy median, bike paths, and sidewalks from the state line to Shopton Road West and to six lanes from Shopton Road West to I-485. Construction is expected to last for four years.

The design tends to improve traffic flow along Highway 160 by restricting most left turns and requiring motorists to turn right and make U-turns.

For more information on the design, see the NCDOT web page for U-5766 Steele Creek Road Improvements. This page has links to downloadable maps showing the design detail. This page has not been updated since the public meetings in August 2019.

Highway 160/Hamilton Road Intersection

NCDOT is adding left and right turn lanes in each direction of this intersection. Construction had been delayed because of utility relocation.

NCDOT was in the process of paving this intersection when the asphalt plants had to shut down for the winter. The vertical elevations of the intersection were being raised several inches by the construction project, which requires raising the existing signals to maintain minimum vertical clearances. Charlotte DOT maintains those signals, so they will need to come in and raise the signals while the project is idled for winter. NCDOT will come back out in the Spring once the asphalt plants start back up (which is usually in early April) and complete the project. NCDOT anticipates having it finished by early Summer.

To comment on this story, please visit the Steele Creek Residents Association Facebook Page.

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