To accommodate the construction of the last piece of Charlottes outerbelt in northeast Charlotte, the N.C. Department of Transportation is opening several roads Friday at 4 p.m.
The most significant opening is a new segment of Eastfield Road from N.C. 115 to near Browne Road. That section of road is being moved slightly to the north to accommodate Interstate 485. The final six-mile segment of I-485 is currently under construction.
Gary Eudy, the DOT project manager, said the new section of Alexanderana Eastfield will be an improvement for motorists.
It will be a safer road, Eudy said. There will be better site distance. It will be a lot nicer road, with a modern design.
The existing Eastfield a farm-to-market road was built in the 1920s, he said.
The state is building that new section of road as a four-lane divided highway. But only two lanes are opening Friday, with the other two lanes opening in the future.
The changes are part of the overall $150 million contract to finish the outerbelt, which has been more than two decades under construction. Eudy said the project is on schedule and should open in December 2014.
To build the final outerbelt segment, the DOT had to rework some roads near N.C. 115. The area is expected to grow rapidly once the outerbelt is finished.
In addition to the new segment of Eastfield, the DOT is making two other changes.The state is renaming and improving another section of Eastfield, a branch of the road from N.C. 115. That section of the road will be renamed Independence Hill Road and will cross the outerbelt. The state also is creating Dixon Farm Hill Road, which will use part of the old Alexanderana Road and parallel the new Eastfield Road.
New traffic signals will operate at Independence Hill and Eastfield roads, but the signal at Alexanderana and Eastfield roads will be removed and replaced with a stop sign.
In the future, the DOT will reconfigure parts of Prosperity Church Road near the outerbelt. The state is planning to build six roundabouts on the road.
The construction of the outerbelt is one of several high-profile highway projects in the Charlotte area.
The DOT is currently widening Interstate 85 in Cabarrus County; replacing the I-85 Yadkin River Bridge; and planning to widen I-485 in south Charlotte, starting in late spring.