More traffic studies for South Trade, McKee
by Kara Lopp
Two of Matthews’ main thoroughfares will get a second look by traffic counters very soon.
Town commissioners voted 6-1 Monday, April 23, to pay Winston-Salem-based Davenport Transportation Consulting $29,100 for traffic studies detailing current conditions on South Trade Street and McKee Road. Consultants also will analyze the impact the proposed McKee Road extension from Pleasant Plains Road to Campus Ridge Road would have on South Trade Street, according to Davenport’s proposal to the town.
The town is saving an estimated $5,000 by bidding the projects together, Public Works Director Ralph Messera said. The studies are expected to be complete in two months.
Commissioner Kress Query voted against the measure because he’s worried Davenport engineer John Townsend can’t approach the project with an unbiased opinion. Townsend previously worked for Charlotte’s Kimley Horn and Associates, which conducted a previous traffic study on the area, he said.
“I wanted somebody completely independent that has a fresh view of it,” he said this week. “Just changing companies doesn’t mean very much to me. If I’m going to pay somebody to do a traffic study, I want someone with a clean slate.”
In 2004, voters passed $10.5 million worth of parks and street bonds – $5 million for parks and $5.5 million for streets. The bonds were set to expire in November, but commissioners were able to secure a three-year extension through the N.C. Local Government Commission. If the bonds are sold for the South Trade project, residents can expect a 3.5-cent increase in the town’s tax rate, officials said previously. For someone owning a $200,000 house, that would mean an increase of $70 a year.
The project would widen South Trade from two to four lanes from Fullwood Lane to Weddington Road.
Officials say an extension of McKee Road will improve traffic flow at the intersections of East John Street and Old Monroe Road with Campus Ridge Road and Stallings Road/Potters Road. Campus Ridge Road serves the Levine Campus of Central Piedmont Community College in Matthews. The project would build two lanes of a future four-lane roadway. The town also plans to extend this road to the west toward Pleasant Plains Road and to the east toward Independence Boulevard.
About a year ago, Matthews commissioners voted to enter into an interlocal agreement with the N.C. Department of Transportation to purchase right-of-way and pay for construction of the estimated $3 million project connecting East John Street to Campus Ridge Road. The town would pay 20 percent or $600,000, in addition to the $258,000 town commissioners already approved for engineering work on the .4-mile segment extension.
According to Davenport, the intersections they’ll study during morning and evening rush hour include:
• Weddington and McKee roads
• McKee and Pleasant Plains roads
• Pleasant Plains and Potter roads
• Pleasant Plains and Old Monroe roads
• Old Monroe Road/John Street and Potter Road
• John Street and Interstate 485 outer loop ramp
• John Street and Interstate 485 inner loop ramp
• John and South Trade streets
• South Trade Street and Fullwood Lane
• Fullwood Lane and N.C. 51
• South Trade Street and Chesney Glen Drive
• South Trade Street/Pleasant Plains Road and Weddington Road