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State Releases Draft State Transportation Improvement Program

(January 31, 2019) The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) released the Draft 2020-2029 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) on January 10. The STIP identifies state transportation projects that will receive funding between 2020 and 2029. (See Press Release.)

The STIP includes five projects in Steele Creek. See 2020 Draft STIP List:

Highway 160 (Steele Creek Road)/Hamilton Road Intersection.

The construction of upgrades to this intersection were expected to be completed last year, but the relocation of utility poles took nine months instead of two. When bids were requested in December 2018, no bids were submitted. Bids are again being requested, and NCDOT hopes for reasonable bids by February 16. If so, the upgrades could be completed by the end of summer. Total projected cost is $1,690,000.

Plans call for left and right turn lanes and left turn arrow signals in all four directions.

Highway 160

Highway 160 (Steele Creek Road) Widening

The construction for the widening of Highway 160 (Steele Creek Road) had been scheduled to begin in fiscal year 2021 (beginning July 2020), but the Draft STIP now shows right-of-way acquisition and utility relocation beginning in fiscal year 2021 and construction delayed until fiscal year 2024 (beginning July 2023).

The major cause for the delay is a statewide funding problem. Expenditures are outpacing revenues, and projects statewide have been delayed. But the project would have been delayed for a year anyway because of design issues. They considered a grade separation (bridge) for the railroad tracks to pass over Highway 160, but since there are only two trains a day, this will be a grade crossing. NCDOT and Charlotte Department of Transportation engineers are working on a design for the Highway 160 and Highway 49 (South Tryon Street) intersection that will work efficiently. 

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. However, because of the delay, certain sections may be further upgraded. Construction is expected to last for four years. Total cost is projected to be $62,600,000.

Carowinds Boulevard Extension

An extension of Carowinds Boulevard will be constructed from South Tryon Street at John Price Road, running around the north side of the Crossings development, and connecting to Sam Neely Road. It will be a two-lane divided highway. Plans call for right of way acquisition and utility relocation to occur in fiscal years 2027 and 2028 and for construction to occur in fiscal years 2029 and later.

Funding for projects in the first five years of the STIP are considered secure (although subject to delay). Since the Carowinds Boulevard extension is after the first five years, it is subject to reprioritization. Total projected cost is $19,200,000.

Highway 160

I-77 Widening

This project extends from the South Carolina state line to I-277/US 74 (Belk Freeway). Widen existing freeway to ten lanes by constructing managed (toll) lanes, reconstruct I-77/I-277 (Belk Freeway) interchange, and install ramp meters. Construction is expected to begin in fiscal year 2028. Total projected cost is $1,083,865,000.

I-485/NC 49 (South Tryon Street) Interchange

This interchange will be improved. Construction is expected to begin after fiscal year 2029. Total projected cost is $41,100,000.

Click on the image below to view a detailed, revised schedule.

Highway 160

Public Comments

NCDOT is holding a Public Comment period until April 15, 2019 to seek input on the Draft STIP. Use the NCDOT web page for submitting comments, or comments may be made in person at the District 10 office in Albemarle (716 West Main Street, Albemarle, NC 28001). However, you may submit comments now through early June when the final STIP is expected to be approved to Division 10 Planning Engineer Stuart Basham at slbasham@ncdot.gov

Transportation planners with the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization (CRTPO) and the NCDOT will be attending the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Steele Creek Residents Association on February 28 at Kennedy Middle School. The Meet & Mingle begins at 6:00, and presentations (on the 2019 revaluation and planning for growth in Steele Creek) will begin at 7:00,

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