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BALLANTYNE, N.C. – The long-awaited new flyover connecting Johnston Road in Ballantyne to I-485 opened Thursday.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation calls it a major milestone in the project to widen and improve the southern loop of I-485.

In the past, drivers going north on Johnston who wanted to get onto the inner loop of the beltway had to wait at a traffic light for an arrow to turn left.

Now drivers will be able to enter the ramp from the right lane and keep going as the massive ramp takes them up and over Johnston Road and the outer loop the highway before finally exiting the ramp onto the inner loop towards Charlotte.

Pete Cantin, who has to get onto 485 every morning, said it can take ten minutes or more to make that turn.

Other drivers said it can take longer if traffic is really heavy.

"I wait on it every morning," Cantin said. "It'll be nice to have a better traffic flow there."

Edward "Ned" Curran, the CEO of The Bissell Companies, said the new ramp would help area businesses and anyone who needs to get to I-485.

"I think people have heard about this for years and are going to be excited and ecstatic about being able to go right instead of going up to a stop light and waiting to go left," said Curran.

The DOT's spokesperson Jennifer Thompson said work on the entire project to widen 485 is on schedule and on budget and should be finished in December.

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