CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The state will begin widening a stretch of Interstate 485 in south Charlotte in 2014 - a year earlier than the current work schedule, according to a new five-year N.C. Department of Transportation construction plan that will be released Wednesday.
The DOT will add an extra lane on the outerbelt between South Boulevard and Johnston Road, which is the most congested segment of highway in the Charlotte area. The four-lane highway handles 120,000 cars a day, and is often completely stopped at rush hour.
In addition to adding a third lane, the state plans to build a flyover at the Johnston Road interchange. Motorists driving from Ballantyne to I-485 will be able to access the outerbelt by a bridge that crosses the interstate instead of making a left turn at a traffic light.
The entire project will cost between $70 and $75 million.
In June, the DOT announced that it would begin work later this year on the last segment of I-485 - a five-mile leg from N.C. 115 to I-85 south of Concord Mills. Building that eight-land highway will cost $139.5 million, according to the state.
The state plans to award a $155 million contract later this year to build the interchange at I-485.
Those projects will be finished by 2015.