Indian Trail gets ready for millions in road projects

INDIAN TRAIL – Council members in Indian Trail voted unanimously this week to prepare to spend $3 million on upgrading aging and overburdened roads in town. Now, it’s time to get Raleigh to carry its load.

The money, part of a $7 million road bond passed last year, could be used on any of a number of Indian Trail traffic nightmares. But as of now it appears the money will first be earmarked for the Chestnut connector project, which will link U.S. 74 to Old Monroe Road and alleviate traffic on both heavily congested roadways and Indian Trail Road.

“Why this road? Because Indian Trail Road is absolutely failing, and this would be a relief road to Indian Trail Road that would help relieve the traffic on that road and also take some pressure off the cut-through between Old Monroe Road and U.S. 74,” explained Indian Trail Town Manager Joe Fivas.

Fivas said it’s likely town leaders will vote to spend a chunk of the $3 million on that project, though other needs include intersections at Sardis Church and Unionville roads; and Wesley Chapel and Rogers roads, among other project. Fivas listed those as possibilities, saying it’s ultimately up to town council to decide where to spend the money. They’ll meet in early December at a special meeting focused just on the road projects.

The Chestnut project would first connect Matthews-Indian Trail Road to U.S. 74, then Gribble Road to Old Monroe Road, then connect those two phases together.

“It’s been talked about for years,” Councilman Chris King said about the connector. “Projects have come up and the idea got sidelined. The reason I think it’s so important is the overall traffic congestion on Indian Trail Road – that has been a nightmare for years. The only way to do something about that is to build another lateral connector.

“Widening Indian Trail Road… there’s too many businesses and churches out there. I think it’s a better idea with a parkway.”

The road also is key for Carolina Courts, which recently moved to a new spot where the town plans on building a 51-acre park. The connector will run right along the sports venue’s location. Without the road, King said, Carolina Courts “wouldn’t be there.”

And that could be key for a town looking to widen its tax base from heavily residential to more commercially-focused.

“I would say that, after completion of the first phase and once it’s connected to U.S. 74, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a hotel there in 18 to 24 months,” King said. “And that’s what’s missing in Indian Trail. We have lots of sports tourism in the area with Carolina Courts and Extreme Ice. All those people who come in from out of town have to stay somewhere, and we lose that revenue to Charlotte and Matthews because we don’t have a hotel. Building the Chestnut connector will fix that problem.”

Another benefit, according to King, could be how the project will change the lives of businesses along Indian Trail Road.

“People who go up and down Indian Trail Road… that’s not going to be a traffic jam anymore,” King said. “It’s going to be a nice little part of Indian Trail. Businesses will be able to have people come in to their shops instead of them just using the road as a cut-through.”

The other side of the coin for Indian Trail is trying to get the state transportation office to pitch in and help cover the cost of the projects. Fivas said it would be vital to get Raleigh’s help on the state-owned roads to help cover costs, and those discussions will start soon.

The bond likely will be paid off by the town’s new capital reserve fund – created this summer by a 4-cent town tax increase. The reserve also likely will help pay off the recently passed $8.5 million park bond.

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