Meeting will focus on widening from I-77 to Johnston Rd.
by Mike Parks
Representatives of the North Carolina Department of Transportation will come to Ballantyne next month to discuss the pending widening of Interstate 485 in south Charlotte.
The open forum will focus on three projects: the addition of travel lanes within the median of I-485 between Interstate 77 and U.S. 521/Johnston Road; an auxiliary lane from N.C. 51/Pineville-Matthews Road to Johnston Road; and a flyover at the Johnston Road interchange to help get drivers onto the inner loop of I-485 heading toward I-77. A release from the transportation department does not say if the planned bridge over I-485 at North Community House Road, proposed earlier this year by the Bissell Companies, will be discussed at the meeting.
Widening of the congested roadway has been discussed for some time in south Charlotte, and different construction deadlines have been set and then bumped up by officials in the transportation department over the past year. Barry Moose, the local division leader for the state transportation department, is now looking to assign the project to a construction team early next year. If that happens, drivers could see heavy construction under way on the interstate by 2013. Moose has previously stated he doesn’t want to see construction closing lanes on the interstate while the Democratic National Convention is in town next year.
The project is long awaited by many in the Ballantyne area, as the morning and evening commute on I-485 often comes to a standstill. Earlier this year, news website The Daily Beast named the stretch of interstate between Pineville-Matthews Road and Tryon Street as the 31st worst commute in the country.
The meeting, scheduled for Sept. 15, will give local residents a chance to ask questions of state transportation officials before a presentation is made detailing the proposed location and design of the expansion, as well as touching on the right-of-way and relocation requirements and procedures that will take place as the project moves forward.
The question-and-answer session will be held from 4 to 6:30 p.m., followed by the presentation starting at 7 p.m. People also will be able to ask questions and make comments following the presentation. The hearing will be held on the second floor of the Hixon Building in Ballantyne, at 13850 Ballantyne Corporate Place.
Those wanting to familiarize themselves with the project prior to the meeting can visit the state’s transportation office at 12033-C E. Independence Blvd. in Matthews or the Mecklenburg-Union Metropolitan Planning Organization office in uptown Charlotte at 600 E. 4th St., on the eighth floor. Maps of the project can be seen at both offices.
Those needing additional information may contact Jamille Robbins at the transportation department’s human environment unit by calling 919-707-6085 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Those needing auxiliary aids and services to attend the meeting should contact Robbins as early as possible.