Summer road construction going strong

Some projects coming to a close, others still in full force

by Josh Whitener

Summer is a time for travel, so Matthews-Mint Hill Weekly is giving you an update on various major road construction projects in the area that might throw kinks into your plans. Here’s a list of some areas where the orange cones are starting to disappear, and others you might want to avoid for a while longer.

Sam Newell bridge replacement on schedule

After three months of construction, the Sam Newell Road bridge replacement project is expected to be finished in the next six weeks.

State crews began work on the bridge, located on Sam Newell Road between Lakeview Circle and Hargett Road, in early April. The project should be completed on schedule by Aug. 20.

N.C. Department of Transportation Spokeswoman Jen Thompson said partial closings could continue into next year, as landscaping work is planned through spring 2013. “There’s an intermediate contract time that permits additional work, like deforestation and landscaping,” Thompson said. “It’s not a complete project that would close the road.”

Built in 1945 over Irvin’s Creek, the bridge was deemed “structurally deficient and functionally obsolete,” according to a news release from the NCDOT. The state awarded a $1.5 million contract to Blythe Construction of Charlotte to replace the bridge. When completed, the new bridge will have three lanes, with sidewalks on both sides. The project will be designed to accommodate a future town greenway, which will run underneath the bridge.

Traffic delays continue along Albemarle, Blair roads

Mint Hill drivers can expect at least another month of delays as the NCDOT continues a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools project that will bring a new left-turn lane from Albemarle Road to Blair Road, a new westbound right-turn lane from Albemarle Road to Rocky River Church Road and a second through lane on southbound Blair Road.

Thompson said construction around the Albemarle-Blair intersection should pick back up after July 4 and will hopefully be completed within the next two weeks. So far, some of the initial grading work has been done, but no paving has started.

The status of the Rocky River Church intersection is similar, with only some milling done as part of the preliminary construction of the right-turn lane. “It will probably be well after July 4 before that one’s even touched,” Thompson said earlier this week.

The project is part of an effort to alleviate traffic generated by the recently opened Rocky River High School and prevent traffic from becoming too congested as the school grows. Road construction is planned to wrap up by mid-August before students head back to school.

Paving on Monroe Road finished

The NCDOT recently finished the paving stage of a $694,000 project that resurfaced 2 miles of Monroe Road.

Paving operations are finished for the stretch, leading from N.C. 51 to Sardis Road North, but construction workers still need to go back to do the final stripping and make adjustments to manhole covers, which may cause more traffic delays on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., and between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. Thompson said only one lane should be closed at any one time.

The project, which is part of 24 miles of Mecklenburg County secondary roads the state plans to resurface this year, should wrap up by the end of July.

Pineville-Matthews Road water main project moving along

A $1.06 million project that will bring a new water main along N.C. 51/Pineville-Matthews Road is on budget and on schedule.

Karen Whichard, spokeswoman with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities Department, said earlier this week boring and tunneling for the project has been finished and valve repairs have been made. Whichard said the next steps are to install the pipe between Fullwood Lane and Bubbling Well.

The new, 36-inch water line will run 1,620 linear feet from an existing water storage tank near Sardis Road in south Charlotte along N.C. 51 to Fullwood Lane in Matthews, where it will connect to an existing water line.

Whichard said the new water line will help increase water flow, pressure and quality in surrounding neighborhoods, but residents won’t likely realize the difference. The only delays drivers will likely see are brief lane closings to allow trucks to deliver supplies to the site, she said.

The project, part of an ongoing endeavor to accommodate growth along Pineville-Matthews Road, is expected to wrap up in late August or early September.

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