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New Alternatives Presented for Dixie River Road Intersection Realignment

(November 20, 2005) The intersection of Shopton Road West with Steele Creek Road is very dangerous and needs improvement as soon as possible. This point has been well understood for some time, but citizens attending a public meeting on November 17 made sure to emphasize it and urge quick action.

Steele Creek Road (or North Carolina Highway 160) is a major thoroughfare through the western side of the Steele Creek Community. Traffic volumes continue to increase as new residential, commercial, and industrial development occurs in the area, but Steele Creek Road has only two lanes and experiences major backups during morning and evening rush hours.

About a half mile south of the I-485 interchange near the Steele Creek Masonic Temple, Steele Creek Road has a sharp curve that is difficult to negotiate without slowing. To complicate the issue, Shopton Road West intersects right at the curve. Motorists attempting to enter Steele Creek Road from Shopton Road West have an awkward view of oncoming traffic. All this results in a dangerous intersection that generates accidents with frightful regularity.

Developers of the new Berewick community planned to realign Dixie River Road through their future town center in a manner that would allow connection to the Steele Creek Road/Shopton Road West intersection, creating a new four-leg, 90 intersection. This general alignment was approved by the Mecklenburg-Union Metropolitan Planning Organization (MUMPO) in 2004.

  However, studies have shown that approximately 41% of the traffic passing through the intersection  would follow the two legs of Steele Creek Road. Traffic from the south would make a simple right turn at the intersection, but traffic from the north would have to make a left turn to continue south on Steele Creek Road. To accommodate expected traffic volumes, there would need to be at least two and more likely three left turn lanes. High projected traffic volumes basically make this alternative (Option 1) unworkable

Planners have prepared three new alternatives. All of these separate Shopton Road West from Dixie River Road to create two new intersections. Each intersection would have a traffic light, and these would be timed to move traffic through as efficiently as possible.
  Option 2A would move Shopton Road West about 1/4 mile to the south.
  Option 2B would move Dixie River Road about 1/4 mile to the north and also reduce the angle of the Shopton Road West intersection.
  Option 2C is a combination of Options 2A and 2B, and moves both intersections. This moves the two intersections further apart and avoids having an intersection at the curve.

At the public meeting, Charlotte city staff and consultants working on the project requested input from the public on the three options. The decision will be made by the City of Charlotte, the North Carolina Department of Transportation, and MUMPO, but public comments will be considered.

Several meeting attendees requested installation of a traffic signal at the intersection now rather than waiting for the new roads to be built. Staff did not have access to signal feasibility studies but promised to report back on the request at the next public meeting.

The project will be funded by the City of Charlotte Transportation Bonds approved in 2004 and the North Carolina Department of Transportation. Planning and design will continue through mid to late-2006, and land acquisition and construction will occur during 2006 and 2007. The project includes construction of the new Dixie River Road westward up to the Berewick Property line. The Berewick Developers will construct the new Dixie River Road from that point west into their town center.

To comment on the three new options or for more information, please contact Project Manager Derrel Poole of the Charlotte Engineering and Property Management Department:

Mr. Derrel Poole
Engineering and Property Management
600 East Fourth Street
Charlotte, NC 28202-2844
(704) 353-1794
(704) 336-4554 - FAX

See previous articles on the Dixie River Road Project and the Dixie-Berryhill Thoroughfare Plan: 



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