State leaders say I-485 widening will begin in May

Updated:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - State leaders say work will begin May 2013 to widen part of Interstate 485.

The 9-mile stretch between Interstate 77 and Rea Road will be widened to eight lanes.

Things were moving smoothly Saturday on the southern leg of 485.

A stark contrast to rush hour during the week when the area often becomes a parking lot.

Saturday morning, a packed house full of commuters learned plans to widen I-485 between I-77 and Rea Road are moving forward.

"I came to a public hearing a year and half ago and they promised the road would be worked on in January and 2012 and its a year and a half later and project has not started. So, I'm happy to hear the contract is signed and will be started," said driver Lisa Gray.

Leaders said the road will widen to four lanes on each side.

"One of them will ultimately be a hot lane high-occupancy toll lane. We are trying to use the money we have allocated to our division and get the biggest bang for our dollar," said Sen. Bob Rucho, R–District 39.

They also said a vital environmental impact study needed for a flyover lane and bridge on community house road is now complete.

Not everyone is excited about the looming changes.

"I think it's just going to be too much and too many lanes and more confusion than ever," said driver Charlene Oldenburg.

Many at Saturday's meeting said the changes will save time wasted waiting on the highway.

"It's very frustrating when you're on the road every day. It's nice to know they're starting to solve the problem," Gray said.

Leaders said the project would wrap up in December 2015.

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