STEELE CREEK NEWS
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 2030)
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
Residents Get Updates on Highway 160 & New Retail at Annual Meeting),
so the projected dates for widening Highway 160 have fluctuated greatly over
The NCDOT has experienced massive revenue losses
over the last nine months due to COVID-19. These losses will continue into 2021 as well.
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 267 of the original STIP document
The updated cost for this project is $151,700,000, which includes $89M
for right of way purchases, $13.9M for utiity 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
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
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.