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Highway 160Highway 160 Projects Continue to Move up in Schedule

(March 5, 2016) Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization (CRTPO) staff have been providing updates on the status of Highway 160 (Steele Creek Road) widening projects at the last four Steele Creek Residents Association meetings, and each year the news gets better. Projected start dates for two projects have moved up two years since last year's meeting!

Highway 160  

Last week, Robert Cook, CRTPO Secretary, reported that the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) released by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) last year includes funding for two Highway 160 projects. See CRTPO Update February 25, 2016.

Construction is now expected to begin in 2017 on improvements to the intersection of Hamilton Road and Highway 160 (Project U-5762 on the map to the left). This project will widen the intersection for additional capacity consistent with the future Steele Creek Road cross section, which will include two lanes each way on Steele Creek Road, plus turn lanes, a median, sidewalks, and bike lanes. Last year this project was slated for right-of-way acquisition in 2019 and construction in 2021. Total cost will be about $1.6 million.

Some turn lanes have already been added at this intersection by a developer, and Lennar Homes also will be required to make additional improvements once it begins to develop the 201st lot in its new residential development now under construction near the intersection of Hamilton Road and Smith Road.

Highway 160The right-of-way acquisition for the widening of Highway 160 from Shopton Road W to S Tryon Street (Project U-5766) is now scheduled to begin in 2020 with construction beginning in 2022. This timeline is two years earlier than CRTPO staff reported at the 2015 Residents Association meeting.

This 4.2 mile widening project extends along Steele Creek Road from Shopton Road West to South Tryon Street (NC Highway 49). Improvements include widening the existing roadway from two lanes to four lanes with a median and installing bike lanes and sidewalks. Total cost will be about $36 million.

A third Highway 160 project, widening Highway 160 from S Tryon Street to the South Carolina State Line, will be evaluated for prioritization along with other transportation projects for possible funding after 2020. This 2.2 mile widening project extends along Steele Creek Rd from South Tryon Street (NC Highway 49) to the South Carolina state line.

This project did not score well enough to be included in the latest STIP, but NCDOT staff separately evaluated the Hamilton Road intersection and included its improvement in the STIP. This widening project will be evaluated for possible inclusion in the next update of the STIP in 2017 through the Prioritization 4.0 process. South Carolina has begun widening SC Highway 160 from Gold Hill Road north to the state line, which makes the need for widening Highway 160 in North Carolina more urgent.

The interest in widening Highway 160 that has been expressed by the community at annual Steele Creek Residents Association meetings and through other means has had an influence on decisions made by CRTPO and NCDOT when prioritizing projects. The community needs to continue to advocate for the remaining project still in the prioritization process.

CRTPO is a federally-designated metropolitan planning organization (MPO) that is responsible for transportation planning in Mecklenburg, Union and Iredell counties. Its core responsibility is allocation of federal transportation funds. It works with NCDOT to prioritize projects. NCDOT is responsible for highway construction, routine and long term maintenance, and operations.

CRTPO is developing a Comprehensive Transportation Plan, which will identify long-range transportation system needs, and a Metropolitan Transportation Plan, which establishes shorter-term transportation project funding priorities based on financial constraints

See the CRTPO PowerPoint presentation from the 2016 Steele Creek Residents Association meeting here: CRTPO Update February 25, 2016.

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