Council vote paves way for state approval
Now the only thing preventing Monroe Road from being widened is approval by the state.
The Indian Trail town council voted unanimously during their Tuesday, Feb. 22, meeting to commit to the project, adopting a resolution to allocate their $8.5 million share of North Carolina Department of Transportation funding to the widening. One week earlier, the town of Stallings adopted a similar resolution for their $14 million in transportation funds.
“It’s necessary; it’s definitely a priority,” Indian Trail council member John Hullinger said, speaking about widening Monroe Road.
Originally, those funds were supposed to transform Stallings and Indian Trail roads into four lane highways to handle the influx of traffic transportation department projections show will be coming into the area over the next few years. Both towns rejected the idea, however, opposing the expansion due to properties such as Stallings United Methodist Church and the Indian Trail town hall that are directly next to the currently two-lane roads. Widening Monroe Road was a compromise, where the 6.5-mile project, stretching from Interstate 485 to Wesley Chapel-Stouts Road, would be partially funded by the previously allocated dollars. The $22.5 million from the two towns, however, wouldn’t fully fund the project, estimated at between $55 to $60 million and the Stallings council declared they wouldn’t use a bond referendum or anything else to raise additional dollars, as their portion is almost twice that of Indian Trail, despite only 2.5 miles of Monroe Road actually being in Stallings.
“What we’re saying is we would take our monies and build as much road as we could,” Indian Trail Town Manager Joe Fivas said. “We think we know what the construction costs are but the property costs are the wildcard.”
Current estimates project $22.5 million would pay for a widening of the road from I-485 to Indian Trail Road. With no more state funding available for widening the road in the local transportation authority’s 30-year plan, it would be up to the towns to come up with any extra money to finish it.
After more than a year of discussion over all three projects, state officials pushed in recent months for the towns to make a decision. Fivas told the board that state officials were considering pushing back the funds for five to 10 years without a decision, potentially removing it from the funded portion of the transportation authority’s 300-project list.
“I think it’s time to make a commitment,” Indian Trail Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Goodall said of the resolution. “It’s definitely a step in the right direction.”
As part of the Indian Trail vote, the council authorized Fivas to meet with state transportation representatives to work through any further details. Previously, North Carolina Department of Transportation Division 10 engineer Barry Moose had said he needed approval from both towns before being able to move forward. With both towns signing on, it’s now up to the state to approve the widening of Monroe Road.