Relief In Sight For Drivers On I-485 Near Pineville
PINEVILLE, N.C. —
Rush hour backups on Interstate 485 near Pineville have been a common sight since that first segment of Charlotte’s outer belt opened in the 1990s, but Eyewitness News has learned that relief is in sight.
Work on widening that stretch of I-485 is set to begin a year and a half from now, which is a year earlier than the Department of Transportation had planned.
That’s good news for commuters like John Dixon, who said he has geared himself up five days a week for the better part of 11 years for the stop and go traffic on I-485’s southern leg.
“When you get onto 485, you can get to a complete stop,” he said.
But after years of bumper to bumper frustration, help is on the way.
Barry Moose, who oversees all of the highway construction projects in the Charlotte area, gave Channel 9 the first look the plans to add an extra lane in each direction on 485 between Johnston Road and I-77.
Those extra lanes will be in what is now the median.
Moose said they'll have to widen some bridges and rework some interchanges, like the ramp from Johnston Road, near Ballantyne, to the 485 inner loop, where traffic regularly stacks up at the stoplight. Moose said he wants to replace that with what's called a flyover bridge, which would get traffic onto 485 without stopping.
The price tag for all that is about $77 million.
Moose said he had planned on starting the work in the fall of 2013, but now it should begin much sooner.
“I'm looking at advancing it as much as nine months to a year,” he said.
Moose said he got the OK to look for a contractor, who will start designing the changes next spring, and begin working on the widening in the fall of 2012.
It’s a lot sooner than anyone, including Dixon, had expected.
“I wasn't thinking we'd have anything for five or 10 years, so that's good news,” Dixon said.
Construction will bring a new set of headaches for drivers in the area, but Moose said he plans to do the widening without closing any travel lanes during daylight hours. He said he expects it to be finished by the summer of 2015.