Town breaks ground on long-anticipated East-West Connector

The Town of Mooresville broke ground this afternoon on the first phase of the long-anticipated East-West Connector. 

Once complete, Phase 1 of the project, undertaken by K. West Group, will provide direct access between the Lowe’s Corporate campus (I-77/Exit 31 and Langtree Road) to N.C. 115. Phase 2 will eventually extend from NC 115 to Shearers Road.

The goal of this project is to provide a direct transportation connection from

Highway 152 to 1-77.

“There are a lot of people here that never thought this would happen, but we’re here,” said Commissioner Lisa Qualls, who other board members credit for cinching a $7 million grant that finally made the $30 million project possible. 

“It took a little bit of begging and a whole lot of praying,” Qualls said. “And this is only Phase 1. We go back to (Washington) D.C. the week after next to start the begging and praying all over again for Phase 2.”

Commissioner Lisa Qualls

The second phase, once funding is secured, will extend the connector to I-85. By the time the corridor is complete — expected within three years — “it should bring thousands of jobs and multiple billions of dollars of investments” to the 1.7-mile, full-pedestrian-friendly corridor situated in the southern end of town, Mayor Chris Carney has said. 

Mayor Pro Tem Eddie Dingler said today that he remembers the first discussions about the East-West Connector happening back in 2012. “I remember being in meetings where everybody walked out of there saying this is never gonna happen. And here we stand. It’s just an amazing adventure, and I wasn’t sure it was ever gonna happen.”

Mayor Pro Tem Eddie Dingler

Qualls said town transportation projects begin with a line on a map — “literally” — and have to be approved locally, regionally and then federally. “The time that it takes is frustrating, and (the project) really has to have a champion.” 

The champion of this particular project, she said, has been Jon Young, the town’s director of public services, and his team. “There are a lot of heroes,” Qualls said. 

“Jon Young did a fantastic job of never giving up on this,” Carney said. “When you see something happening, a lot of times there are years of work that have gone into that, and that’s what today is a culmination of.” Carney recognized past board and staff members, the town’s corporate citizens who have been involved, Cove Church and landowners who donated $6 million of land to make the project happen.

Mayor Chris Carney

Commissioner Gary West called the project “a legacy project and a unicorn” because the town “did it right the first time,” putting infrastructure in place before development and growth. 

Commissioner Gary West

That almost didn’t happen, but West said ultimately, “we stayed the course.”

“Vision and execution — that’s what this is,” West said. “We were always thumbs up. We had the vision to make this happen, and we didn’t give up on the dream of executing it.”

(From left) Commissioner Tommy Deweese, Commissioner Gary West, Mayor Pro Tem Eddie Dingler, Mayor Chris Carney, Commissioner Lisa Qualls, Commissioner Eddie Karriker and Commissioner Will Aven

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Hi! I’m Jaime

I was a newspaper reporter in Mooresville, NC for a decade and covered local government issues from 2003 to 2006.


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