MATTHEWS – Matthews Board of Commissioners voted Monday, Oct. 14, to approve an agreement with the North Carolina Department of Transportation to move forward with intersection improvements at N.C. 51 and Matthews-Mint Hill Road.
The town requested federal funding to implement a superstreet section on N.C. 51 and was named a recipient of a maximum amount of $526,027 for the project from Transportation, Community and System Preservation funds established by the Federal Highway Administration. The total cost of the project is more than $650,000.
Matthews will contribute 20 percent of the cost for the project, originally intended to start fiscal year 2014-15 but recently moved to the current fiscal year. Matthews will pay $65,754, this year to get the project off the ground and an additional $95,000 in 2014-15. The town originally budgeted $190,000 for the project in the town’s capital improvement plan. Now, the cost comes in at $160,754 and is budgeted in the CIP a year earlier than planned.
The scope of the project includes the installation of a superstreet section north of the intersection of N.C. 51 and Matthews-Mint Hill Road, a town-maintained street, to Phillips Road. A 10-foot wide multi-use path also will be included on the east side of N.C. 51.
“If you’re coming off of Matthews-Mint Hill Road currently, say from like Butler High School, you can only turn right,” Ralph Messera, Matthews public works director said. “Instead, we are going to create this U-turn area.”
Messera said the department and police frequently hear of drivers turning around in inappropriate places. It’s especially a problem, Messera said, since it’s a high traffic area and an inconvenience for residents who live nearby.
“Currently, people are turning around in people’s driveways. They’re making illegal U-turns or rerouting around side streets,” he said, adding the improvements have been a long time coming.
Messera said NCDOT originally planned to host a public information meeting on the project by the end of this month, but expects the meeting will now be held in November. Construction will start summer 2014.