MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. -- Detours around construction of the last leg of the I-485 bypass in northern Mecklenburg County are causing significant traffic backups during rush hours at chokepoints, and neighborhood leaders will ask DOT engineers to consider redesigning certain key intersections at a community meeting Thursday night.

Donnie Oehler, president of the Mallard Creek neighborhood group, has lived along Ridge Road since it was a dirt farm road. Now it carries major traffic from Highland Creek, one of the largest neighborhoods in the state.

If they had just built a four lane bridge up there would have been nothing said, Oehler said.

Instead North-South traffic is routed through a new intersection with two lanes and one turn lane in the middle of a walkable neighborhood with sidewalks.

And it s just bottlenecking everything, Oehler said. School buses are having a hard time getting to Mallard Creek (High School), he said.

Traffic from Johnston Oehler Road and Prosperity Church roads connecting University City neighborhoods to roads leading to Concord Mills Mall and Highland Creek are all routed through a new intersection of Johnston Oehler and Loganville roads, leading to backups.

All this traffic was generated so fast and there are no other routes out, Oehler said.

Neighbors have also seen significant traffic snarls during morning and evening rush hours along Eastfield Road which leads from Highland Creek to a new WalMart across from North Mecklenburg High School on Statesville Road, and to a new spur of I-485 which now ends at an exit on to Old Statesville, connecting to Interstate 77.

The renaming of a segment of Prosperity Church Road as Loganville Road has added to the confusion. Oehler and some others would like it named Old Prosperity Church Road.

NCDOT spokeswoman Jen Thompson said engineers will be on hand at a community meeting tonight at Oehler s Mallard Creek Barbecue Barn on Ridge Road, directly across from the entrance to Highland Creek.

Neighbors are welcome. The meeting begins at 6 p.m.

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