The controversial Monroe Connector/Bypass project is one step closer to being reality.
Today, North Carolina Department of Transportation Secretary Gene Conti and North Carolina Turnpike Authority Executive Director David Joyner signed the $367.7 million design-build contract for the 19.7-mile toll road. The contract has been awarded to Monroe Bypass Constructors, a joint venture of North Charleston, S.C.-based United Infrastructure Group, Monroe-based Boggs Paving, Lake City, Fla.-based Anderson Columbia Co. and lead design firm Baltimore-based Rummel, Klepper & Kahl.
Last week, the NCTA sold bonds needed to construct, operate and maintain the toll road, enabling the design-build contract to be awarded.
During the next six months, Monroe Bypass Constructors will work with the NCTA to complete final designs. Also on the to-do list: the right of way process, including title work, relocation planning and assistance, appraisals and negotiations.
Monroe Bypass Constructors and the NCTA will host a comprehensive community workshop from 4 to 8 p.m. Dec. 5 at the Union County Agricultural Center, 3230-D Presson Road, in Monroe. During the workshop, those interested in reviewing project designs and learning more about the right of way process can meet the design-build and right of way teams.
The toll road, the second in the state, is set to open in late 2015 and will span from U.S. Highway 74 at Interstate 485 to U.S. Highway 74 near the town of Marshville in Union County.
Environmentalists opposed to the project claim the NCDOT and the Federal Highway Administration violated federal law by ignoring lower-cost solutions to alleviate Highway 74 congestion and misled the public about the impacts of the toll road on the environment.