Caldwell County will race against MDI road construction

If study isn't finished first, new road eventually will be torn up
Jan. 29, 2013 @ 02:00 AM

Caldwell County officials hope that a master plan for land adjacent to MDI east of U.S. 321 in Granite Falls can be completed in time to prevent ruining a very expensive new road.

The county board of commissioners voted Monday night to approve splitting the cost with Granite Falls for The Wooten Company, a consulting firm, to develop the plan, which would detail such things as the best places for water and sewer lines to be extended into the nearly 67-acre property near the Walmart. The county’s share of the cost comes to $24,000, and Granite Falls’ is $12,000.

A road through the property, from Grace Chapel Road to U.S. 321, is under construction to provide better access to MDI. If the road is completed before the study is finished, any work to prepare the vacant land for utility services would come with extra expense, as well as inconvenience to MDI and others using the road, said Deborah Murray, the director of the county Economic Development Commission.

“There are many things this (study) could allow us to do without later tearing up a new road,” she said.

Caldwell County and Granite Falls jointly bought the site in 2009 specifically for the road project and expected the road to make the rest of the property more attractive for development.

Murray said after the meeting that the proposal for the study did not come to the board sooner because of transition in government leaders. The timeline included in Wooten’s proposal, enclosed with the commissioners’ agenda, anticipated beginning the study in November 2012 and completing it in May.

Work on the road is expected to be completed this fall, Murray said, but the date is uncertain because the work is hitting some delays.

It has been clear for a while that a master plan is needed in order to market the property to potential industrial buyers, Murray said. There had been a site-readiness study, but it was not extensive or detailed. The master plan will include such things as measures needed for wetlands and other protected areas.

In August, Caldwell officials will meet with state economic development officials and present them with information on the site, Murray said.