Morganton’s newest road is now open to traffic. It connects South Sterling Street to West Parker Road, and is officially named Albert Tron Boulevard.
The road opened Friday, February 28, after several months of construction. It paves the way for new development in Morganton’s hospitality corridor on South Sterling Street near Interstate-40.
Albert Tron Boulevard’s construction was funded primarily by a $1,374,714 Appalachian Regional Commission Transportation Grant in 2017. The Morganton City Council voted to provide an additional $173,195 in funding to complete the project.
The purpose of the connector road is to provide access to the property in order to construct hospitality businesses, which would expand the local tax base and create jobs. The expectation of the ARC Grant is that at least 45 new jobs will be created by the development.
Morganton has been diversifying its local economy since the 2008 recession, and tourism was identified as a growing industry in our area by multiple studies in the early 2010s. Since then, tourism in Morganton and Burke County has continued to grow. Morganton has focused more attention on this industry in the past decade, and it has paid dividends for our local economy.
As tourism has grown, the need for more hospitality businesses has continued to rise. The completion of Albert Tron Boulevard opens the door for new hospitality development opportunities.
Longhorn Steakhouse is the first business in the new development and is being built along South Sterling Street. Construction on that project is close to completion, and it is expected to open soon.
A hotel developer has purchased land along the new connector road for a future hotel to be built behind Sonic. There is still approximately four acres available for purchase and development along the new road.
“The completion of this road supports Morganton’s continued growth and creates opportunities for more development in our hospitality corridor,” said City Manager Sally Sandy. “Longhorn Steakhouse is nearing completion and a new hotel is in the works, and we are excited for the development potential this connector road brings to our City.”