Widening coming for Old Monroe Road?

INDIAN TRAIL – Construction could be starting soon on a stretch of Old Monroe Road, but the town of Indian Trail has a few hoops to jump through before the project gets off the ground.

At their Aug. 14 meeting, the Indian Trail town council approved a feasibility study that would analyze the possible widening of Old Monroe Road leading from Wesley Chapel-Stouts Road to South Fork Road. The study would determine how viable the project would be concerning certain aspects, such as cost, right of way acquisition and utility issues.

Town Manager Joe Fivas said the study would take two to three months to complete. If the project is determined feasible, the council would then vote on a timeline. Should the council decide to begin the project immediately, there would be a six to nine month designing/engineering period, followed by about six months of construction, Fivas said.

Widening Old Monroe Road has been a topic of discussion for quite a while. Traffic congestion along the road has caused headaches for both residents and those who commute via the road, and town officials have been working to see what can be done about it. “For several years, it’s been a high priority to resolve some of those issues related to that traffic,” Fivas said.

In response to traffic congestion between Interstate 485 and Wesley Chapel-Stouts Road, Indian Trail, the North Carolina Department of Transportation and the town of Stallings began to examine how they could work together to alleviate the problem.
Recently, the three parties agreed to work together to fund the widening of the road from I-485 to Indian Trail Road. Indian Trail had allotted $9 million to go toward improvements on Indian Trail Road, but decided to redistribute the money to the collaborative project.

Stallings also redistributed money – $12 million to be used for Stallings Road improvements – and put it toward the project as well. The NCDOT agreed to cover the rest of the project, including a stretch of about three-quarters-of-a-mile in Mecklenburg County.

The entire corridor, currently two lanes, would become a four-lane boulevard with a tree-planted median with sidewalks on both sides, Fivas said. The towns are hoping widening the road also will boost economic development along the stretch. “(There are) a number of developers and retailers holding off until the widening occurs, but we think we can spur more development along the corridor by starting the process,” Fivas said.

The town is hoping the NCDOT will agree to widen the road beyond Indian Trail Road to South Fork Road, the nearest road on the other side of the intersection. Construction for the I-485-Indian Trail Road corridor would likely start in 2017, Fivas said.

But that doesn’t help the problems on the other side of Indian Trail Road, Fivas said, which is why the Indian Trail town council is working to move forward with the feasibility study to see how well the town could handle the project on its own.

If it’s deemed practical for the town to cover the project, Indian Trail would use a combination of $10 million worth of bonds and town funds to pay for it, although the town is hoping to secure some state funds as well. The town won’t have an estimate on the project’s cost until the study is finished.

Fivas said the study would probably begin within the next week or two, so the town can get the ball rolling soon. “Depending on the study and if the town council wants to move forward… construction could start in the next 10 to 12 months,” he said. “If the feasibility study comes back good and the town council approves (the project), it could fly very soon.”

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