Relief coming to congested I-485 interchange in west Charlotte

CHARLOTTE — Relief is coming to one of the most congested interchanges in North Carolina: Interstate 485 at Interstate 85 in west Charlotte.

Drivers can find themselves in traffic while merging into a single lane to get onto I-85.

The state plans to add more lanes to accommodate the 150,000 motorists who use the interchange each day.

“I drove it one time and I said never again,” driver Deborah Barker told Channel 9′s Ken Lemon. “They told me the wait here is mind-boggling.”

There are two lanes of traffic leaving I-485 from Pineville and below that, there is one lane leaving I-485 from Huntersville.

“The traffic situation is virtually unbearable,” driver Steve Huffstettler said.

Rep. Tim Moore, R-Kings Mountain, was in Charlotte Thursday and announced that he is allocating $45 million to fix the problem.

Moore said the money comes from a House contingency fund.

The state House speaker said he drives the route to the capital in Raleigh.

“I see it first-hand. I sat in (traffic) the other day,” Moore said at the announcement.

The current path has traffic merging down to one lane on I-85.

The new plan has two lanes that run next to I-85 and merge well beyond Sam Wilson Road.

Moore said he didn’t have to wait for Department of Transportation funding.

“They were talking like 2033, 2033 to build this, which is way too long,” Moore said.

Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles said the plan will support new homes, and businesses, and the Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

“The airport supports 150,000 jobs and many of those people travel on 485 and 85,” the mayor said.

The funding was just approved.

The DOT must first clear environmental restrictions, move utility lines, and get engineers to complete studies, among other actions.