by Brian Carlton

CHARLOTTE - If a road was built, repaired or widened in the Lake Norman area during the past 25 years, chances are Barry Moose had a hand in it.

At the end of October, the longtime division engineer will say goodbye to the region as he retires.

“As an engineer, I’m never satisfied. I only see how things can be improved,” Moose said, when asked about the projects he’s worked on. “I’ve tried to implement things in different ways and while there are always needs, I’d like to think in the past 25 years we’ve helped solve some of the traffic problems in the area.”

Born and raised in the area, Moose has seen it change from farms and countryside to an urban setting. Charlotte was still a large city growing up, Moose said, but with a lot of rural character. Now the region has traffic that rivals anywhere in the country and, Moose believes, will only get worse.

“Everybody took a break with the recession, but as we start coming out of it, I do see this area continuing to grow,” Moose said. “This is a fantastic area to move to. It’s got a lot of amenities. It’s just a great magnet and attraction for any company or anyone.”

One of the key problems Moose pointed to was the often-delayed completion of Interstate 485.

Growing up, Moose saw firsthand the need for the road and has worked on it from his first job after college to his position now as division engineer. Seeing construction start on the final leg of the project ranks as one of the top accomplishments in his career, Moose said.

“That’s probably the pinnacle of anybody’s career, seeing a project of that magnitude finally come to completion,” Moose said.

As he prepares to leave, Moose sees more challenges on the horizon for the region.

The division is currently planning and designing High Occupancy Toll lanes on Interstate 77. The final section of the project runs from Exit 28 in Cornelius to Exit 36 in Mooresville, with a HOT lane in each direction built in the median. If approved, the project could open for traffic in fall 2015.

Also as a result of the 2010 Census, Mooresville, along with the towns of Troutman, Statesville and Marshville will be added to the Charlotte regional transportation authority, meaning more projects to be handled with the same amount of state funding.

Moose also points to projects like the controversial Red Line transit as a future issue for the region.

“Giving choices in transportation is going to become even more critical, as more people move into the area,” Moose said. “To be a very viable and sustainable region, I’m convinced you have to provide people with options. We’re not dense enough right yet for people to give up their car, but congestion is not going to go away.”

While the HOT lanes will solve the current traffic problems, Moose said, future transportation needs can’t be ignored.

“You can’t just sit and rest on your laurels,” Moose said. “I tell people you’ve got to have a 30-to-50 year vision. When you are planning these transportation corridors, you’ve got to have a 50-year vision. You have one time to do it right, you need to take the time to think it through.”

While he points to I-485 as a project he’s proud of, Moose also has unfinished business that he wished could have been completed during his tenure. One of those is the proposed expansion of Independence Boulevard in Charlotte.

“It’s woefully needed, but it’s been a challenge since day one,” Moose said. “That’s one I would have loved to be able to say we finished.”

Overall, Moose is satisfied.

“You look back and wish you could have done more for the public, but I spent 27 years of my working life doing something I enjoy,” he said.

“I enjoy the transportation field and seeing projects get built. I’m looking forward to my next chapter. I’m still going to be working in the transportation field, but it’s just going to be in a different capacity.”