RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Large cranes are helping put up massive walls for the Toyota Battery Plant at the Greensboro Randolph Megasite. The construction is on track to finish by 2025, but local leaders say they need major infrastructure changes to meet the new demand for the area.
North Carolina Department of Transportation crews are working through three different off and on-ramp projects along US 421 to make driving around the megasite and getting on the highway easier.
“This is probably the largest project we’ve had here in Division 8 in a long time,” said Justin Richardson, the resident engineer on site for Division 8.
Richardson says construction for the first project near Julian Airport Road is on track to finish in August 2024. The other two exit projects near Starmount Drive and Colonial Trading Path are waiting for funding and an additional timeline.
Drivers can expect to see cones and concrete barriers as they move through the area. People who live nearby say the biggest changes coming are the ones we don’t see.
“Economic development is coming like a tsunami. We just need to learn how to ride the top of the wave and not be swooped under,” Liberty Mayor Filmore York said.
Riding that wave starts from the ground up.
“With the announcements of Toyota, Wolfspeed and all the other economic growth, we’re the only water/sewer provider in northeast Randolph County, so it puts a lot of strain on us as in which direction to go,” Liberty Town Manager Scott Kidd.
The Secretary of North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality Elizabeth Biser visited Liberty on Monday to hand over more than $12 million for the town’s water system.
“Water and wastewater service isn’t something you think about unless it stops working,” Biser said. “I know you’ve worked hard to get ready for that growth while also addressing compliance.”
The plan is to review the water system and identify weaknesses with the money.
“As this area grows, our plant is probably not going to be big enough, so the planning grant along with this additional money really got us in the right direction with what we need to do to get ahold of the coming capacity,” Kidd said.
Leaders want to make the system as strong as possible as this once-small town starts to grow.
“I have at least three subdivision requests sitting on my desk waiting,” Kidd said.
Those subdivision developers want to be annexed into Liberty. Town staff is working on pathways for the subdivisions since they haven’t annexed property in decades.
“A lot of people have started to split their property and sell it off…new houses being built…all that demand not just on the infrastructure but on the town as a whole will continue to grow,” Kidd said.
The boom reassures Jay Alexander’s decision to buy a building downtown in 2009.
“Prices were down when we bought the building. You always buy in the red and sell in the green, and that’s what’s happening,” said Alexander, the owner of Liberty Emporium and Thrift.
He tells FOX8 that it’s common to see public works employees ripping up concrete to replace pipes.
Town leaders in Liberty say you should expect to see construction on the water system in the next few months.