MECKLENBURGCOUNTY, N.C. -- Drivers on the southern stretch of I-485 take note: construction begins this week to widen the road from two lanes in each direction to three from I-77 to Johnston Road.

The good news? After December 2014, rush hour should move faster.

More good news? The first two weeks of the project will be done mostly at night -- between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The bad news? It's going to get worse before it gets better. The construction was suppose to start Sunday night, but rain postponed the work until Monday.

The initial phase of the $83.3 million project is scheduled to begin overnight Sunday into Monday, and will reinforce the outside shoulders on both the inner and outer loops.

Drivers will need to drive on those shoulders when lanes shift for construction of additional lanes in the center median.

After that, construction crews will place concrete barriers along the medians to keep workers safe.

Crews will work on the inner loop this week, and the outer loop the next. They should be done with this phase Friday, April 26.

Plenty of drivers look at the beginning of construction with mixed emotions.

I'm ecstatic they're starting it, said Sal Toscano, who has to drive along I-485 during rush hour. It's pretty terrible during the rush hour by the mall area.

Leah Titus agrees. It's bad, she said. You'll sit.. it won't move for 5 minutes 10 minutes. It can be a long commute in the morning.

But driving through construction? No one likes that idea.

I would be dreading that if I had to go that way, said Titus's boyfriend Nate Filicicchia. I would not be okay with that.

I may avoid using 485 a lot in the next year if that's gonna happen, echoed Titus.

All three agree the delays will be worth it in the long run. Just getting there, though, may mean slowing down even more than they do now.

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