• Busy bridge in Elizabeth neighborhood will be closed until 2019

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    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A busy bridge near uptown will close Monday morning and will remain shut down for more than a year and a half.

    The Hawthorne Lane Bridge over Independence Boulevard will close at 9 a.m. Monday for streetcar construction, and will not reopen until 2019.

    There will also be times during the project in which crews will have to close Independence Boulevard from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. 

    "Every day you wake up, there's a different closure on the street." Richard Benedict said. "The only problem is everything they do here, they never finish on time."

    Crews have said it’s more cost effective to tear the bridge down and replace it with one strong enough to hold streetcars.

    When the Gold Line is finished in 2020, passengers will be able to ride from Plaza Midwood, through uptown and into west Charlotte.

    Channel 9 investigated and found out just how many drivers will be inconvenienced now for the future of the Gold Line.

    In 2014, NCDOT counted 12,000 cars on Hawthorne at 8th Street, just south of the bridge.

    As of May, the Gold Line carried more than 1,500 passengers into uptown.

    "It might not be so wonderful that we don't have access to it for a while, but it'll be for a good cause," Kim Voges said. 

    Weather has already delayed some of the work happening along Hawthorne Lane and 7th Street.

    Residents have complained about increased traffic along the detours and now the problem may only get worse. CATS said some lanes on Independence Boulevard are expected to close during construction as well.

    "All of that will occur at night to minimize that traffic impact," said Dave McDonald, with CATS.

    Motorists may have to drive an extra mile to get around the closure.

    The project director said the Hawthorne Bridge cannot support the weight of a street car.

    Replacing it, according to CATS officials, is the cheapest option.

    "If you don't stay up to date watching the news, you don't know which ways to come. You get caught in traffic jams,” Benedict said.

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