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The art of construction

Cornelius makeover of Highway 8 nears completion


by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: DOUG BURKHARDT - Heavy equipment has been on the job along Baseline Street in Cornelius in recent weeks, including, as seen here, in front of the colorful mural on the old Hanks Thrifway building. It’s a bit of a tangled mess for now, but when the construction work on Baseline Street (eastbound Highway 8) in downtown Cornelius is completed, city officials believe it will all seem worth it.

The city is in the midst of a major reconstruction project in the corridor that has an overall price tag of more than $5 million.

“The funding is from several sources, agencies and grants,” said Mark Crowell, director of the Cornelius Public Works Department.

In addition to repaving the highway, new sidewalks and curbs are being added.

According to Cornelius City Manager Rob Drake, once completed, the eastbound and westbound thoroughfares of Highway 8 through Cornelius will look essentially the same.

“The (Baseline Street) roadway will mirror Adair Street, which runs westward through town,” Drake said.

With the highway being rebuilt, the city is taking the opportunity to replace aging infrastructure. Storm, sewer and water lines are being replaced in the corridor, and there will be visual enhancements as well.

“Most of the power lines will be undergrounded, open ditches will be removed and we will have buried storm lines,” Drake said. “Since the road was being torn up, this is the perfect time to do this type of work.”

Crews have recently been busy digging trenches and installing new pipes for the city’s water distribution system. New lighting fixtures will also be installed.

“This will allow us to add the hanging flower baskets each summer, like on Adair Street,” Drake said.

For motorists who are weary of the roadway being restricted to one lane and the torn up, bumpy asphalt they are driving on, take heart: it will all be over soon.

“The project is scheduled to be completed this summer,” Crowell said.

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