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Cornelius News

Delays ahead: W. Catawba widening in the slow lane

Oct. 12. By Dave Vieser. The long-awaited widening of West Catawba Avenue from Jetton to Sam Furr will be delayed by at least four years. This, according to an eye-opening report issued this week by Deputy Town Manager Wayne Herron.

The delays are being caused by massive cash flow problems at the NCDOT, complicated by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.


Not happening in 2021

For the West Catawba widening, land acquisition was expected to be completed in 2021 with construction starting in 2024. It now looks like construction won’t even begin before 2026 at the earliest and might not be done until 2028 or later.

“This is just a very expensive project, now pegged at over $49 million, which has contributed to the timetable delay.” Herron said the price had jumped from $24.2 million.

Impact on new development?

The Catawba Avenue delay is actually one of eight projects facing delays according to Herron. And how delays will impact development projects like the $110 million Alexander Farm Project remains to be seen.

Delays can’t be good news for developers anxious to get their projects underway who may have to shoulder some of these expenses in order to proceed with their developments.

Commissioner Denis Bilodeau asked Herron if any decision had been made as to which portion of West Catawba would be done first.

Herron said: “That’s something which is usually decided in conjunction with the selected contractor and since we are so far away from that, the answer is ‘no.'”

Bilodeau replied: “Wow.” It wasn’t a happy wow.


The other delayed projects include:

—Torrence Chapel roundabouts, and Highway 21 dual roundabouts: These are both bonus allocation projects and construction, originally scheduled to begin this year, is now delayed to 2022-2023.

—Potts Roundabout: The same delay applies here with the start of construction delayed from 2020 to 2022.

—Northcross Road Extension: Construction begins 2022-2024, several years later than initially anticipated. Herron said part of the delay is caused by additional work needed to modify the road on the Huntersville side near Rubbermaid.

—Bailey Road extension: The construction moves back to 2023 for this short addition connecting the existing road with Highway 21.

—Hickory Street/115 improvements: Off the chart completely. No prospective dates at this time.

—Sam Furr Road and West Catawba Avenue: Construction delayed from 2024 to 2027-2029.

—Highway 21 widening south of Westmoreland Road: Delayed from 2024 to 2031-2032.

Herron held out some hope that the dates could possibly move up in the next year. “The officials at NCDOT know how much these projects, especially the West Catawba widening, mean to us but this is where we stand right now,” he said.


5 Responses to “Delays ahead: W. Catawba widening in the slow lane”

  1. This is so much BS! First we (residents) get stuck with a toll lane when we pay some of the highest taxes, now delays on widening roads. Put a moratorium on building until the roads can accommodate the additional traffic! Where is all of our tax money??? And why are the delays 2 to 4 years?? WTH!?

    Posted by Donna Winter | October 13, 2020, 9:49 am
  2. This was a issue long before I ran for Mayor in 2007 and yet thirteen years later the road has not improved. I blame it squarely on Dave Gilroy for delaying this project and all projects that could have been beneficial for the town Cornelius. Being cheap was not the answer then and it is not now. So glad he is no longer in the decision making process.

    Posted by Richard Stilwell | October 13, 2020, 7:58 pm
    • Former Commissioner Dave Gilroy responds: “Hey Richard, hope you’re well. Nice cheap shot, but my 14-year voting record on the Town Board speaks for itself: 100% support for transportation infrastructure investments – across the board! I have opposed excess spending that is fundamentally different – annual increases in recurring personnel & operating expenses which have often been 4X-5X the annual increase in our population or property tax base. This unfortunate, undisciplined spending has driven the 4 double-digit property tax increases Cornelius has seen since 2007.”

      Posted by Jason Benavides | October 14, 2020, 1:17 pm
  3. This is ridiculous. This shows the weakness of the leaders we rely on and elect to be tough with Raleigh and DC. Where is Thom “the tollman ” Tillis to correct this? Oh that’s right he is in DC not helping the constituents that elected him. I agree with the moratorium for building anything new until we get better/more roads.

    Posted by TC | October 13, 2020, 9:58 pm
  4. We have lived here over 25 years. Catawba Road has been so busy and it should have been fixed years ago. Also, all that you needed to do was widen I-77. Instead we still only have two lanes unless we want to pay to go 3 exits. Perhaps they need people who can think ahead. Now look at the price to repair Catawba. Guess that’ll be another 40% increase in taxes like last year. Outrageous.

    Posted by Alice | October 14, 2020, 4:49 am

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