The pro-incorporation group: Oakes, Bob Silver, Matt Smith, Matt Gustis, and Nic Haag the committee that came up with the idea...now says it's up to the County to take up the issue since the incorporation proposal is apparently dead. At the meeting of the Commissioners Monday night (Jan. 28th), East Lincoln Betterment (ELBA) president Greg Smith addressed the board during the public comments portion of the meeting:
"East Lincoln traffic concerns have been highlighted for years to the Commissioners. As an example of the problem, on January 18th at 3:40 pm, traffic was backed-up from Unity Church Road past Food Lion (Fairfield Forest Road)--over a mile and a half.
"Rapid development has continued with little mitigation for traffic impact. Multiple new major developments have already cleared land and are ready to add traffic to what is already more than the roads can handle.
"Low volume traffic designs have resulted in predicted safety issues: for example, the Optimist Club Road U-turn--as predicted--has become a major safety issue. Distorted traffic patterns have formed due to a lack of options: Webbs Road communities are traveling north 1.5 miles to St. James Road to avoid delays on Business 16. "We understand that a special fund has been established and Commissioners have ordered a planning traffic study, but is that going to make any difference in getting the projects that have long been talked about completed?
"Our request is that Commissioners develop a strategy supported by a real action plan to address DOT priorities. For example: consider using funds from the County's share of the increasing sales tax revenue as matching funds that could be committed to DOT projects in the East Lincoln area."
Some have expressed concern that other area projects might get a quicker solution than those in the East Lincoln area. Lincoln County is a member of the GCLMPO (Gaston, Cleveland, Lincoln Metropolitan Planning Organization).
The Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) identifies the transportation projects that GCLMPO and NCDOT plan to undertake over the next ten years. The most recent version covers the period 2020 - 2029. It includes 13 new highway projects in Division 12, which includes Gaston, Cleveland, Lincoln, Alexander, Catawba and Iredell counties. Among the most recent updates are two new very costly projects in Gaston and Cleveland counties: the widening of Interstate 85 from the South Carolina state line to US74 near Kings Mountain, and the widening of US74 between Cramerton and Belmont. Widening of I-85 between Belmont and Gastonia had already been on the list.
Some East Lincoln residents are concerned that because traffic volume on those roads is much larger than on the ones in East Lincoln, they'll get completed long before the projects already approved for East Lincoln are done. As it stands now, the new I-85 project isn't planned until 2028, but the construction on US74 is listed for 2022 and the Gastonia-Belmont widening of I-85 to eight lanes is listed to begin in 2023.
We were told that the DOT will hold an in-house public comment session in February or March at the Division 12 office in Shelby, and that residents will also be able to submit comments online.
While housing developments have helped cause many of the traffic problems, business development also adds to the traffic tie-ups. Among items on Monday night's (Feb. 4th) Commissioners/Planning Board agenda is a request related to developing a 10.9 acre parcel on the west side of NC16-business at Webbs Road.CLICK HERE
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