Project development studies for the proposed widening of N.C. 73 – from N.C. 16 in Lincoln County to Northcross Drive in Huntersville began in 2016.
NCDOT has collected detailed information, conducted environmental studies and met with numerous stakeholders to help define the project purpose, study area and alternatives, as well as to identify ways to avoid/minimize impacts to the human and natural environment.
The need for the project rises as a result of multiple studies:
- The 2004 N.C. 73 Transportation/Land Use Corridor Plan contains transportation recommendations for a 35-mile corridor of N.C. 73, including the segments of N.C. 73 in Lincoln and Mecklenburg counties.
- The 2004 Mecklenburg-Union Metropolitan Planning Organization Thoroughfare Plan proposes new roadways and other improvements in Mecklenburg and Union counties. It was amended in 2011 to include an N.C. 73/future Vance Road Extension.
- In 2007, the Town of Huntersville adopted the Beatties Ford Road Small Area Plan, which proposes new roadways and incorporates the future multi-lane Vance Road Extension that follows a portion of Gilead Road near Beatties Ford Road.
- The 2011 Northwest Huntersville Transportation Study combines the transportation recommendations contained in the Beatties Ford Road Small Area Plan and Mecklenburg-Union Thoroughfare Plan, including the realignment of N.C. 73 from the McGuire Nuclear Station east to Beatties Ford Road.
- In 2016, project development studies began for the N.C. 73 improvements. NCDOT collected detailed information, conducted environmental studies, and met with numerous stakeholders to help define the project purpose, study area, and alternatives, as well as to identify ways to avoid/minimize impacts to the human and natural environment. These projects are some of numerous NCDOT projects along N.C. 73 that are being considered to enhance regional east-west mobility along the corridor.
- The 2017 Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization (CRTPO) Comprehensive Transportation Plan includes the recommendation to realign N.C. 73. The planning organization’s 2045 Metropolitan Transportation Plan includes segments for N.C. 73 in Lincoln and Mecklenburg counties.
- On Aug. 30, 2019, efforts to plan and design R-5721A and U-5765 prior to construction were temporarily suspended due to inclement weather expenditures and Map Act settlements, with expectations to reinitiate work on both projects in early 2020.
- On Oct. 21, 2019, the Town of Huntersville Commissioners endorsed a new alignment to CRTPO. This option seeks future connectivity between Oliver Hager Road and Gilead Road as future development occurs.
Throughout the project development process, NCDOT has sought public input through public meetings and public comment periods, including the following:
- A public meeting in Huntersville on Feb. 5, 2018
- A public meeting in Denver on Feb. 6, 2018
- A meeting (hosted by the Town of Cornelius) with local residents on March 12, 2018
- A neighborhood meeting, at the request of the Birkdale Homeowner’s Association, on April 17, 2018
- A public meeting in Huntersville on Oct. 16, 2018
- A public meeting in Denver on Oct. 18, 2018
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also held a public notice period from early November through early December 2018 to get input from property owners where stream and wetland impacts are anticipated as a result of the project.
NCDOT and the Army Corps of Engineers received and considered input from the public and local government officials in their recommendation of the Preferred Alternative.
NCDOT will continue coordinating with various stakeholders along the project corridor to receive additional input and address concerns to the greatest extent possible. This coordination will continue through the final design phase of the project.