CHARLOTTE, NC-- It's a nightmare. Every day more than 135,000 people hit Interstate 485 in south Charlotte. The traffic can turn an easy commute into a lengthy trip in bumper-to-bumper backed up congestion.
“This section of 485 is one of the worst bottlenecks in the state,” said NC DOT spokesperson Jen Thompson. “This section of 485 is an F,” she said. “It is failing."
But finally, progress on plans to expand the busy stretch of interstate. NBC Charlotte has learned the contractor hired to expand the interstate is in the initial design phase.
“If you look inside to the median we'll add a lane in each direction beside the median,” said Thompson as she took us on a morning commute.
There will be nine miles of new lanes from Interstate 77 to Rea Road.
The design team is now deciding how to put it all in place and how to tweak the plans on the additional lanes and a massive flyover at the Johnston Road interchange.
Thompson said drivers should expect some lane closings when work gets underway next summer, but she does not expect the interstate to close completely.