MOORESVILLE, N.C. -- More than 200 people dropped by Berea Baptist Church in Mooresville Thursday night to take part in the North Carolina Department of Transportation's first public meeting on the widening of N.C. Highway 150.
Construction is several years down the road but the meeting was held to take the public’s concerns into consideration in the early phases of planning.
“We had some mixed opinions but I think overall we got good public input,” said Michael Wray. He is overseeing the project development for NCDOT and said the widening encompasses a 13.5 mile stretch of road from Interstate 77 in Mooresville to the N.C. 16 bypass in Catawba County.
"The more people impacted, the more contentious it becomes, but hopefully we can find a way to move forward,” he said.
Many say the project is long overdue. Traffic studies show more than 20,000 vehicles travel along the corridor -- nearly double the volume the road was built to handle.
"Disappointing. I was disappointed not to see a light," said Sheri Flower. She lives in Queens Landing and said it is hard enough to pull out of her property with the existing traffic. She is concerned how the extra lanes will impact her drive since the preliminary design shows the nearest traffic light is four miles away.
"How are we going to get out and turn left,” she asked.
Polly Moore is in favor of the extra lanes, but said a proposed median near her home would be a major inconvenience.
"I'm not much for that because I would have to go down the highway, make a u-turn and come back up to get into my property,” she said.
With two historic buildings sitting within the Terrell Historic District, NCDOT has come up with three options that would bypass that stretch of road.
Either way, antique shop owner Jean Conner said she is at a loss.
"Do we want them to widen it and let them take our store or do we want them to go around and we have no business? Those are our two options,” she said.
Mooresville native Alex Beam runs the Memory Lane Automotive Museum and said he came out to the meeting to request a turning lane for his establishment and the other building near his business.
"We got several businesses in there and if they don’t put us a turning lane, it’s going to hurt business. We all need something to get across 'cause people have to come a mile or so down the road and turn around and go back. That is not going to help us any,” he said.
The state plans to begin acquiring land by 2017 and begin construction two years later. Crews will eventually be working westward from I-77 to N.C. 16.