Planning and development are underway on proposed four-lane and six-lane roadway sections to accommodate future traffic volumes on N.C. 73 from N.C. 16 in Lincoln County to Northcross Drive in Huntersville. Minor improvements to side roads have been evaluated and are proposed where needed.
The proposed design includes innovative intersection treatments along the corridor, including reduced-conflict intersections, which are shown to improve safety and mobility, accommodate more traffic volume without increased delays and require less right of way. They are also safer for pedestrians and bicyclists.
NCDOT has evaluated three designs, referred to as alternatives, for the proposed improvements, which were presented at public meetings in October 2018:
- Alternative 1 would widen existing N.C. 73 from N.C. 16 to Northcross Drive.
- Alternative 2A would widen existing N.C. 73 with realignment in the area of McGuire Nuclear Station and Beatties Ford Road, resembling an alignment proposed in local and regional plans.
- Alternative 2B would widen existing N.C. 73 with a more shallow realignment option than Alternative 2A.
Preferred Alternative Selected
In mid-March 2019, the merger team – a group of representatives from the N.C. Department of Transportation as well as regional, state and federal environmental resource and regulatory agencies – selected Alternative 1 as the preferred design option, also referred to as the Preferred Alternative.
Alternative 1 proposes best-fit widening along existing N.C. 73 from N.C. 16 to Northcross Drive.
Best-fit widening uses a combination of symmetrical widening (an equal amount of widening on both sides of the roadway) and asymmetrical widening (widening to one side of the roadway more so than the other). Best-fit widening avoids and/or minimizes impacts to the human and natural environment to the greatest extent possible.
Factors that led to the selection of Alternative 1 as the Preferred Alternative include:
- Alternative 1 is less expensive than Alternatives 2A and 2B from a right of way and construction standpoint
- Alternative 1 is anticipated to have less impact to streams and wetlands than Alternatives 2A and 2B.
- Alternative 1 has the same number of anticipated relocations (homes and businesses) as Alternative 2A and has fewer anticipated relocations than Alternative 2B.