MOORESVILLE – After nearly a decade of consideration by the town, the widening of Oates Road has made it onto the list of state-funded road projects and is moving toward its construction phase.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation held a public input meeting about the project Dec. 13, and NCDOT Division Project Development Engineer Michael Poe – who’s been involved with the project for about two years – said the widening would enhance connectivity.
“It just provides an additional east-west connection across (Interstate) 77 and an alternative to using N.C. 150,” Poe said. “So whether you’re trying to get somewhere to work or shop, it gives you an alternative. It just provides a better connected street network.”
The widening – which would primarily be to three lanes but would extend to five in some areas – would run between Bluefield Road and U.S. 21 and involve constructing a bridge over I-77 that would connect Oates Road to Midnight Lane. The road improvement would also include sidewalks, curbs and gutters, 5-foot-wide bike lanes and additional traffic lights.
Carrie and Michael Trowbridge own a residential property on Oates Road that is partially in the right-of-way currently designated for the project.
If the right-of-way easement does not shift after public input and potential environmental impacts are taken into consideration, the easement would require NCDOT to purchase and use a portion of the Trowbridge’s front yard.
“When you see (the map), it looks like you’re almost going to walk out my front door into the road,” Carrie said of the NCDOT project map. “But (an NCDOT employee) explained that’s where they run the utilities and stuff under there, but he said they’d buy it from me. I didn’t know they bought it. I thought they just took it.”
“They’re basically just going to take the ditch to the property line, and they’re going to put in a sidewalk right on the property line,” Michael said. “So we’re really not losing anything.”
NCDOT is expected to finalize the right-of-way areas and then purchase them by next summer.
Should the project go through, construction is expected to begin in 2021 and would be completed in about two years.
“It’ll alleviate some pressure from (N.C.) 150,” Poe said. “And we’ve got another project in a few years where you build a new interchange at Cornelius Road. And so there’s going to be a lot more options. And all of these things are needed for the growth, the traffic growth that we’re anticipating here in Mooresville as well.”