News & Media

Dirt to Finally Turn on Long-Planned Four-Lane Lake Norman Road to Ease Bottlenecks

From Joe Marusak, Charlotte Observer

Work is expected to begin in June on a major new four-lane Lake Norman road, first proposed decades ago for drivers to escape infuriating bottlenecks when traveling east-west across Mooresville, town officials said Tuesday.

Construction bids are due April 11 for Phase 1 of the East West Connector, Mooresville Public Services Director Jonathan Young told The Charlotte Observer.

Phase 1 will stretch from Langtree Road to N.C. 115 and include a realigned Transco Road and a new rail crossing at N.C. 115, according to the town of Mooresville projects page. Langtree Road is off Interstate 77 Exit 31 at the lake.

The connector will have a divided median, and multi-use paths are planned along the route.

“Assuming everything goes well with bids and is approved by NCDOT, the project is scheduled to begin construction in June and last almost two years,” Young said.

Phase 1 should be substantially completed in May 2025 for just under $22 million, partly funded by a 2019 U.S. Department of Transportation BUILD Grant, he said.

Including design and right-of-way, the overall project could roughly turn out to cost around $25 million to $27 million, according to Young.

A future second and final phase of the project will connect Highway 115 with Shearers Road at the intersection of Shearers Road and Rocky River Road, and is anticipated to cost around $50 million, Young said.

The goal of the two-phase East West Connector is to provide a direct east-west connection from N.C. 3 to Interstate 77 “without having to traverse downtown Mooresville,” he said.

The town plans to add an East West Connector page to its website once construction starts, Young said.

At their regular meeting Monday night, the Mooresville Board of Commissioners awarded a $1.7 million contract to consultant A. Morton Thomas and Associates to inspect the project to ensure all town, state and federal requirements were met.

Connector was envisioned decades ago

The connector was recommended in the 1998 Town of Mooresville Thoroughfare Plan and the 2007 Mooresville Comprehensive Transportation Plan, the Observer reported in 2008.

A Mooresville transportation planner at the time said he traced plans for such an east-west connector across south Iredell as far back as 1983.

Mooresville’s only major east-west connector is traffic-clogged N.C. 150, so the connectors would alleviate congestion on that road, former Mooresville Planning Director Tim Brown said in 2008.

N.C. 150 remains the only major east-west connector to this day.

Commissioners and the audience broke out in applause Monday night when Town Manager Randy Hemann congratulated Young and his staff for getting Phase I out for bids March 16.

“How long did it take?” Hemann asked Young.

“A while,” Young replied, drawing laughter from the room.