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Cornelius News

West Catawba widening may be delayed 3 years

Oct. 11. By Dave Vieser. West Catawba widening from Jetton Road to Sam Furr may not be completed until 2029, delaying the completion of the $52 million project by another three years.

It means motorists will continue to endure single-lane travel in each direction for another six to seven years.

What happened?

Right-of-way acquisitions and utility relocations are delaying the project, Deputy Town Manager Wayne Herron said.

The NCDOT estimates it will take 18 months to complete all the right-of-way acquisitions needed for utility relocation, followed by about two years for the utility relocation work.


The NCDOT has shifted the date it receives and opens bids for the project construction from 2024 to 2026, Herron said.

With an estimated two to three years for construction, this places the project’s completion in the 2029 time frame, according to Herron.

Just last year, town officials were saying construction would begin in 2024 and be completed sometime in 2026.

What comprises utility relocation?

There are a large number of utilities with equipment and service lines along the West Catawba Avenue right-of-way.

The electric lines that are visible along the highway must be relocated to accommodate a wider road; placing them underground was prohibitively expensive.

However, pipes and lines used by Charlotte Water, Piedmont Natural Gas, AT&T and Spectrum, among others, will also need to be relocated—a lengthy process.

Could it be done sooner?

One option is still on the table: NCDOT officials are negotiating with the utilities to see if they would accept doing the relocation on a phased basis. If the utilities agree, NCDOT could move up the bidding date to summer 2025, Herron said, “which would save a few months at best.”

How will this delay impact other projects and traffic flow?

It’s difficult to predict until a firm construction schedule is established. However, some of the projects along this stretch of West Catawba Avenue, such as the Alexander Farm development, have turning lanes that must be built in conjunction with the wider road.