The state has unveiled plans to build a new network of roads and interchanges near the site where Vietnamese carmaker VinFast will make electric vehicles in southeastern Chatham County.
The road construction, to be done in two phases, will transform a quiet stretch of U.S. 1 and old U.S. 1 near Moncure and require demolition of several houses.
The N.C. Department of Transportation will present the plans and answer questions at an open house at the Chatham County Agricultural and Conference Center in Pittsboro on Tuesday, Aug. 16, from 4 to 7 p.m., and again during an online presentation at 6 p.m. Thursday.
The changes are designed to make it easier for workers, visitors and suppliers to reach the plant from the highway. VinFast says it expects to employ up to 7,500 people and begin churning out 200,000 or more electric SUVs a year by 2027.
But the 2,150-acre megasite can be reached only by two-lane country roads, primarily old U.S. 1. The $1.25 billion incentive package that helped lure VinFast to Chatham County includes about $250 million for road and rail improvements in and around the site, according to the state Commerce Department.
NCDOT proposes reaching the site by rerouting and extending two existing roads — New Elam Church and Pea Ridge. Both roads would be widened to four lanes separated by grassy medians and each would connect to a redesigned and expanded interchange with U.S. 1.
The new access roads would lead directly into the VinFast complex. New bridges would carry them over a set of railroad tracks and old U.S. 1, which would be reached with new exit ramps.
The work would begin at New Elam Church Road. NCDOT proposes building a new interchange that would replace existing Exit 184 at old U.S. 1.
NCDOT says it hopes to begin acquiring right of way next month and start construction in January.
The second phase would involve the new interchange at Exit 81 and the overhaul and extension of Pea Ridge Road. NCDOT says the timing of that work would depend on VinFast meeting some of the job goals set by the state.
For more information, including maps of the two phases, go to publicinput.com/Chatham-TIP-Road-Improvements. You’ll also find a link there to register for Thursday’s virtual meeting.