by: Trish Williford Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A major expansion for Interstate 485 was announced Tuesday to help clear up one of Charlotte’s worst trouble spots for drivers.
State transportation officials revealed plans to make I-485 wider from Interstate 77 all the way to Independence Boulevard.
The current widening project is from I-77 to Rea Road. The proposed extension will extend 8 miles from Rea Road to Independence Boulevard.
State highway officials want drivers along I-485 to be able to get where they are going faster and they believe toll roads could be the way to do it.
Officials will also add 22-foot shoulders to the inside of I-485 from I-77 to Rea Road. That shoulder could be turned into a toll lane.
For years drivers have complained about traffic jams along I-485.
Officials believe toll roads will ultimately relieve that problem, but there is an issue of funding.
Department of Transportation officials said there is money for the project, but the state has to designate it as a priority project before the money can be spent on it.
DOT officials think it could get approval from Raleigh by the end of 2015. Actual construction could start two to three years after that.
DOT officials are also looking at doing similar work on Independence Boulevard, but a plan for that has not been drafted yet.
For more on I-485 widening project, click here.