Concord leaders want funding for $14M I-85 improvement project

by: Tenikka Smith Updated:

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CONCORD, N.C. - New lanes on Interstate 85 have made it easier to get to exit 49, the main access point for Concord Mills and the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

But once you get off the exit and onto Concord Mills Boulevard, traffic is a different story.
 
Exit 49 is the busiest in the state, averaging more than 40,000 cars a day.

U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson said businesses along the stretch generate nearly $1 billion to the state's economy and he doesn't want that to be stifled.

He recently met with business leaders and other stakeholders to talk about a plans for infrastructure improvements.
 
On the table, a flyover to ease congestion on Concord Mills Boulevard, plus pedestrian crosswalks and sidewalks.

They also want to extend the current widening of Derita Road between the airport and the mall. 
 
Lin Childrens is general manager at Quaker Steak and Lube. 

"It would be a vast improvement to have a better flow of traffic, a smarter way to have people in and out the mall and how we can cater to the local community of Concord to get them to the businesses they want to come to," he said.
 
The mayor said the total price tag is around $14 million. The city has already offered $2.8 million in matching funds.
 
"It's a very bold move for Concord to offer this money, but we think it's going to make the state come to the table and put up their side," Mayor Scott Padgett said.
 
Hudson said as the state doles out its federal transportation dollars, he's pushing to get this project high on the priority list.
 
"We're hopeful when they run the numbers and look at this that they'll make this investment," Hudson said.
 
Padgett said he expects to find out where the exit 49 improvement project falls on the state's list of priorities by August.