With the DNC less than two weeks away, the NCDOT is scrambling to decorate the city with less money than what it originally planned for.
The DOT already had $300,000 in state road maintenance funds to beautify the city. The city of Charlotte asked state lawmakers for another $200,000, but their request was denied. Now, the Department of Transportation is trying to do what it can with what it has.
DOT originally planned on decorating 16 interchanges, including Interstate 77, Interstate 85, Independence and Billy Graham Parkway, with elaborate banners, statues, brick walls, red, white and blue streamers and much more. Now that it has less money to work with, it is switching the focus to instead spruce up the interchanges and to put more of an emphasis on three of them.
The three interchanges it’s now focusing on are I-277 and South Boulevard, I-77 and Billy Graham, and Billy Graham and Tyvola. The new plans include planting red, white and blue wildflowers to the three interchanges. On Wednesday, Eyewitness News saw crews planting already blossomed flowers. But in other areas where they were planted, the weather wasn't cooperating, so that could disrupt DOT's plans even more.
"Even though they were planted six or seven weeks ago, it will depend on the weather to decide if we will actually see them bloom," said DOT representative Jen Thompson.
DOT will use the rest of the money it has to spruce up the other interchanges by laying mulch, cutting the grass and trimming back trees to improve safety and make exit signs more visible.
State lawmakers haven't said why they denied the money for the beautification project or what that money would be used for. Eyewitness News tried to reach out to several lawmakers, but no one responded by news time.