East-West Connector to provide relief for roads south of Mooresville

The East-West Connector will provide an alternative to Faith Road. /Town of Mooresville

MOORESVILLE – The next step in a giant leap toward enhancing traffic flow and preparing for growth in the south side of town will be commemorated with a “signing day” gathering off Langtree Road next week.

The April 8 event will include the ceremonial acceptance of land contributions and right-of-way acquisitions clearing the path for the first segment of the long-discussed East-West Connector, an alternative traffic route and an anticipated development catalyst through property southwest of the Langtree Road/N.C. 115 intersection.

The roadway is the first leg of a comprehensive project that includes a future Phase II link between N.C. 115, Shearers Road and N.C. 3 (Coddle Creek Road) as part of the goal to establish a new route between interstates 77 and 85.

The first piece of the new connector, with construction anticipated to begin by late summer or early fall, will be an eight-tenths of a mile arc from Langtree around the west and south sides of the The Cove Church campus to N.C. 115. The connector will include a flat “at grade” railroad crossing (much different than the steep Langtree Road crossing) and a new signalized N.C. 115 intersection about seven-tenths of a mile south of the Langtree intersection.

The connector will also include interior links from Transco Road and from property owned by R.L. West, providing new road access without requiring travel on Langtree Road. Except for turn lanes and upgrades required for the East-West Connector intersection, Langtree Road will not be substantially altered.

In a project update delivered at the town board retreat in February, town officials estimated construction would take about two-and-a-half years to complete.

The majority of the new roadway – the Transco and R.L. West links will be three lanes – will be a four-lane divided highway. In addition to roadwork, the project will involve the installation of 1.7 miles of water lines and the construction of 1.6 miles of bicycle and pedestrian pathways.

The connector is expected to enhance traffic flow efficiency on regularly-congested Langtree Road while providing better direct access to the existing Lowe’s and Corvid Technologies corporate facilities. It is also considered an artery to support future economic development in what town documents often reference as the “Silicon Shores” area, roughly 450 acres that, based on projections from previous town studies, could accommodate future, tax-base boosting investments in the $689 million range.

At next week’s ceremonies, officials will acknowledge land contributions from private entities and right-of-way purchases representing a $7.6 million investment. Total expenditures required for the project, supported by a $13.6 million federal grant received in 2019, are estimated just shy of $22 million, with the town and private stakeholders contributing 38 percent of the funding.

The East-West Connector has been on the town’s “drawing board” since at least 2010, when a feasibility study was compiled. In 2018 – with total costs estimated at $18.9 million – a 523-page environmental assessment was completed as a major preliminary step.

That type of preliminary work is in progress on Phase II. That four-lane roadway, using some of the existing Faith Road corridor, will be a link between N.C. 115 and Shearers Road connecting at the Rocky River Road/Shearers Road intersection near the Food Lion-anchored Rocky River Promenade.

Phase II does not yet have a timetable or identified funding source.

The future road will begin near The Cove Church campus. /Lee Sullivan

New Faith Road bids

Elsewhere on the town’s south side, a sticking point for local motorists and commuters alike will soon be back on track for improvements.

At the town board’s March 21 meeting, Town Manager Randy Hemann said a new contract for work at the Faith Road/N.C. 115 intersection was recently put out for new bids, since the original contractor abandoned the job not long after it was awarded. Hemann said new bids are due April 14, and he expects work to restart sometime around June.

“It is a very high priority for the board,” Hemann said about the project. “We are anxious to get this intersection redone with new travel lanes and make it work a little more efficiently.”

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