CHARLOTTE, N.C. — New nonprofit advocacy group South Charlotte Partners wants the state to move faster on a delayed expansion of Interstate 485 that would add a toll lane on each side connecting Interstate 77 to Independence Boulevard. Construction was scheduled to begin last year.
Based on a response this week from the head of the state Turnpike Authority, a part of the transportation department, chances are good the new lanes will be underway next year and open by 2022.
The Turnpike Authority operates toll lanes as part of NCDOT. Controversy over a separate Mecklenburg toll lane project running from uptown to Mooresville led the state to tap the brakes on the 485 project, according to a June 18 letter written by the head of the Turnpike Authority.
The 17-mile toll-lane expansion on the 485 beltway in south Charlotte aims to reduce traffic congestion along a stretch that carries 65,000 to 112,000 cars per day, according to the N.C. Department of Transportation. Construction costs are estimated at $203 million and, unlike the controversial $650 million, 26-mile addition of toll lanes on I-77 in north Charlotte, the 485 segment would be paid for by the state rather than a private firm.
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