Bypass connector could cost $224 million
CHARLOTTE- Building the western connector for U.S. 74's Monroe, NC bypass would cost $170 million to $187 million, according to the state's draft environmental impact study.
And buying homes and businesses in its path would add $19 million to $37 million more, depending on which of five possible routes is chosen.
Each route for the connector, which links Mecklenburg with the bypass around Monroe, would destroy dozens of homes or businesses. A public hearing will be held early next year to hear comments from residents, who will be able to review detailed maps of each alternative.
The document analyzes five possible routes but does not make a recommendation on the best choice. Still, its completion is the next big step in helping the N.C. Department of Transportation decide the route, said Joe Lesch, Union County assistant county manager.
The connector is years away because the state has not budgeted money for its construction. It will start near the Mecklenburg line and continue eastward 11 to 12 miles to U.S. 601, where it will join the planned Monroe bypass.
The route of the bypass, which will run from U.S. 601 to Marshville, has been chosen. Its construction has been held up because of federal environmental agencies' concerns about how growth that the new road would bring might harm an endangered fresh water mussel, the Carolina heelsplitter.
The completion of both the connector and the bypass would be a major boost for through traffic. The four-lane, divided highway would have no traffic signals, allowing traffic to move smoothly from Interstate 485 to Marshville, bypassing heavily congested Monroe.
Here's the impact of the 5 alternatives for the connector:
• Route D2 would head northeast from U.S. 74 near the Levine Campus of Central Piedmont Community College. It would have a diamond interchange at Indian Trail-Fairview Road and would not affect the Village of Lake Park. The state would buy about 10 houses in the Beverly Drive neighborhood and separate 15 houses from the rest of the neighborhood. It would remove 71 houses and eight businesses. Cost: $191 million.
• The western end of D3 route follows the same alignment as D2 but runs farther south as it continues eastward. It has similar impacts on neighborhoods as D2, but would pass through the eastern end of Suburban Estates Mobile Home Park, requiring the purchase of 19 properties along Daybreak Drive. The route requires the purchase of 85 houses and seven businesses. Cost: $193 million.
• Route E2 leaves U.S. 74 just west of Indian Trail-Fairview Road and would have the same impact on the Beverly Drive neighborhood as D2. Because it travels farther on U.S. 74 than the two D alternatives, its construction would require the purchase of 49 businesses. The alignment would not affect Suburban Estates. Access to CPCC would change. It would demolish 67 homes. Cost: $191 million.
• The western end of E3 is identical to E2 but swings farther south as it continues eastward and would have the same impact on the Beverly Drive neighborhood as D2 and the same impact on Suburban Estates as D3. Access to CPCC would change. It would demolish 81 houses and 49 businesses. Cost: $193 million.
• Route G widens U.S. 74 and would be the costliest option because so many businesses would be removed. Access to CPCC would change and three churches would be affected: Southeast Bible College, Lighthouse Family Church and Christ's Church. Two houses at the end of Olde Elizabeth Lane would be bought in the Cameron Woods neighborhood. The route would demolish 32 houses and 133 businesses. Cost: $224 million.