City approves plan to connect airport entrance to I-85

by: Paige Hansen Updated:

Airport entrance

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - City leaders have approved a plan to connect Interstate 85 straight to the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. 

City council members didn't discuss the item at their meeting Monday but unanimously consented to the project.
The airport said it's a crucial part of the multi-million dollar new entrance road project -- part of which is already underway.

Brent Cagle, the airport's interim aviation director, said the road will be the airport's new front door.
Initially, the hope was that the state would pay for the road but Cagle said it was not in currently funding priorities and would've taken longer than the city and airport are willing to wait.
Instead, the airport will purchase the land from the state and build the last segment on its own.
It will cost about $1.3 million plus whatever it costs to purchase the land. Lee Davis, the public affairs manager for the airport, said the road will be paid for through various airport revenue sources, like the airfield, concessions, parking, etc.
“I think money spent here at the airport whether it be parking (or) roads is well spent and will serve us well in Charlotte,” said Cheryl Pappas, a Charlotte resident.
 “This will be an airport property, an airport roadway and we will partner with the Charlotte Department of Transportation to maintain the roadways as we do all our roadways,” Cagle said.

The airport said it hopes to start this portion of the project soon.
The goal is to open the road with the rest of the entrance roadway project which is scheduled for September or October.