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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Uptown traffic is in for some significant changes next week when crews begin work on the new streetcar project that has now reached East Trade Street in the area of the Transit Center and the Time Warner Cable Arena.

Workers will begin on Tuesday to lay the tracks for the Lynx Gold Line and that section of East Trade between Brevard and College Streets will be shut down.Traffic will have to detour and buses will not be able to use the East Trade Street side of the Transit Center. Pamela White of the Charlotte Area Transit System said it is all going to take some getting used to.

"Pack a little patience and we are going to do as best as we can moving according to our schedule and will be as safe as we can while we do that, said White.While construction is going on, buses will have to use the Fourth Street side of the Transit Center to enter and leave, meaning the big buses will have to have room to turn around inside the building. We have some really good drivers. We have supervisors there to assist them with that so we are confident we can get that done," White said.

Tonia Wimberly, the project manager for the Gold Line, said the section of track includes a portion where the streetcars will turn around. "It is a special piece of track where both rail lines come together, both east and west bound. They come together in the center and it is all one piece," Wimberly said.

If the weather holds and the work goes according to plan, Wimberly said the work in that area of Trade Street should take about two months. Wimberly said the entire project is on track to be finished by March of 2015. The current schedule is as follows:

  • May 27 July 7: Trade Street is scheduled to close between College and Brevard Streets on Tuesday, May 27. It will remain closed through July 7 in order to accommodate the special track work between the CTC and Brevard Street. This will impact bus operations because they will have to use the Fourth Street entrance until bus egress can be re-established on Trade Street.
  • June 14 August 1: The Caldwell intersection is scheduled to close on June 14 after school lets out. Caldwell is scheduled to remain closed through August 1 in order to install the special track work in Caldwell/Trade Street intersection and in the area between Caldwell and Brevard.
  • June 14 August 1: At the same time as the Caldwell closure, Hawthorne Lane between Fifth Street and the Elizabeth intersection is scheduled to close on June 14. It is scheduled to remain closed until August 1 in order to install the track work in the Elizabeth intersection and in Hawthorne Lane. Access to Novant Presbyterian Medical Center will be maintained from Fourth Street. Also, local access will be maintained to the businesses along Elizabeth Avenue.
  • August 1 September 5: The last major piece of special track work on the Trade Street/Elizabeth corridor has to be installed at the intersection of Kings Drive. Both Hawthorne Lane and Caldwell Street must be reopened to traffic prior to the closure of the Kings Drive intersection. Pending the reopening of both intersections listed above, the Kings Drive intersection is scheduled to close on August 1 and remain closed through September 5 in order to install the track work across the Kings Drive intersection. The closure would begin while CPCC is on summer break and would extend through Labor Day effecting their first 3 weeks of the Fall Semester. We are coordinating with Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) to notify the students of the Kings Drive closure.
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