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Cornelius News

NCDOT projects: Costs up, some completion dates slip

June 4. By Dave Vieser. A new NCDOT project update for Cornelius is not particularly good news: Total costs are up, and some completion dates have been pushed back again.

Of the seven projects, West Catawba Phase 2 is by far the major concern. NCDOT’s estimated date for seeking construction bids has been pushed back two years, from August 2024 to March 2026. That means the project will not be completed until 2029.

As recently as October 2021, town officials were saying that the project could be done in 2026.

The cost has also skyrocketed: Prior to late 2014 it was estimated to be $12.5 million, now it’s $51 million. While that figure is still under review, the town will be responsible for $3.7 million.

Bailey Road extension

The cost for this project has increased by over $10 million, of which the town would be responsible for $5.1 million. The completion date has also slipped to December 2025.

Northcross Drive extension

Project costs have increased by $5 million and the town costs would now exceed $8 million.

What happens next?

Town commissioners discussed the report with Deputy Town Manager Wayne Herron prior to their recent town board meeting searching for any options which may be available to the town. In some instances they have asked for more detailed cost estimates from the state. Simultaneously they will be seeking discretionary funding from the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization (CRTPO), the key to road planning and funding.


If costs continue to escalate could any of these projects be stopped prior to construction?

The need is great so that’s not likely, but Herron said there are costs involved in stopping projects prior to construction. For example, the cost to the town would be $1.13 million if the Northcross Drive extension project was to be stopped prior to construction.

Based on recent developments, Town Commissioner Denis Bilodeau said we need to reevaluate our strategy for road improvement.

“NCDOT should fund corridors that handle regional traffic such as Hwy 115, 21, 73 and West Catawba. Town funds could then be used to fast-track local road improvements such as Bailey Road and Zion Steet extension,” said Bilodeau, a voting member of the CRTPO policy board.

7 NCDOT projects

• Phase 2 widening of West Catawba Avenue.

• Bailey Road extension

• Northcross Drive extension

• Highway 21/Catawba Ave dual roundabouts

• Highway 115/Potts Street roundabout

• Hickory Street signal

• Torrence Chapel

Town costs on all  7 DOT projects

Previous town costs: $26.9 million

Revised town costs: $34.7 million

Increase: $7.7 million

Percentage change: 29%