By Cigi Sparks, O-N-E Reporter
The widening process of Hwy. 16, to provide a more accessible route from Charlotte to Newton and vice versa, has officially begun.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) recently began talking to owners about purchasing parcels of land along the project areas.
The widening of Hwy. 16 involves two projects - from Tower Road to Caldwell Road and from Caldwell Road to Claremont Road, according to NCDOT Spokesperson Jordan-Ashley Walker. The two strips of roadway will be widened from two lanes to four lanes.
The NCDOT recently approached the owner of the land and business at 3152 Hwy. 10 South in Newton, asking to purchase the parcel, according to the current occupants of the building. The business that is at that location is Country Corner Consignment Shop.
"About 99 percent of people that live on this road and in this area around here aren't happy about this happening," said consignment shop owner and building occupant, Travis Docalavich. Docalavich, along with his business partner April Parlier, have been running Country Corner Consignment from the location on Hwy. 16 since November.
"I think that the biggest complaint about all this is that they're taking people's houses and that people are afraid that the new road is going to be dangerous," Docalavich said. "There are pluses and minuses to everything though."
The owner of the land and building that is being occupied by the consignment store plans to fight the NCDOT purchase in court, according to the occupants. The owner wants to keep the land because it's a prime location and he hopes to pass it on to his children some day, according to the occupants.
Other businesses along Hwy. 16 include Jones Fish Camp, Christian Tours, Buffalo Shoals IGA, Shirley's Cakes Candies and Supplies, Citgo Foodmart, The Lucky Lizard Bar and Billiards, and more.
"I have not been contacted about the store," said Buffalo Shoals IGA personnel Laban Helderman.
For the first half of the widening project (R3100A), from Tower Road to Caldwell Road, will impact 160 separate properties, according to Walker.
The second half of the project (R3100B), from Caldwell Road to Claremont Road, will impact 109 properties. In total, it is expected that 269 properties will be impacted by the widening, according to Walker
NCDOT Right of Way personnel began making contact with property owners to inquire about purchasing land in January of 2015, according to Walker.
"All right of way for the R3100A project that stretches from North Tower Road to Claremont Road is to be certified by Aug. 15 - certified meaning the property has been acquired and cleared by the department. 38 structures were acquired that involved relocation. The let date is scheduled for Nov. 15," Walker said. "All right of way for project R3100B, which picks up at Claremont Road to north of Caldwell Road toward Newton, is to be certified by Oct. 17. There are 22 structures that will need to be acquired for this project. The let date is Jan. 17, 2017. The scheduled construction completion dates will be specified in the contracts depending on the size and scope of the projects. All dates are subject to change."
A "let date" is when a project is awarded to a contractor and when construction can officially begin.
Construction is scheduled to take place on Hwy. 16 during the 2017-18 Fiscal Year.