Improvements to the intersection at Ballantyne Commons Parkway and Elm Lane have started as part of an $8.2 million transformation scheduled for this year.Changes include an upgraded traffic signal to relieve left-turning motorists traveling north on Elm Lane. Real estate acquisition is nearly completed, and contractor bidding is expected to begin by the end of March, according to a Charlotte transportation official. The project “will allow capacity through that intersection,” said Leslie Bing, an engineering project manager with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Engineering and Property Management division. “It’s a top intersection for traffic in the area and this will help alleviate traffic greatly.”Because of a rise on Ballantyne Commons Parkway, the intersection currently has several blind spots for motorists who are turning left or right. The intersection, bordered by StoneCrest Shopping Center, St. Matthews Catholic Church and a U.S. Postal center has gotten increasingly busy in recent years. The design for Ballantyne Commons Parkway includes four lanes and a median with offset turn lanes from Ballantyne Trace Court to Rea Road. Plans for Elm Lane include three lanes divided by a median from Indigo Row to Williams Pond Lane. The project also calls for bicycle lanes, sidewalks, planting strips and trees.Recently, the intersection received an upgraded traffic signal that allows northbound traffic on Elm Lane a left turn arrow if there is a sufficient number of cars in the turning lane to activate it. If not, vehicles will have to yield to oncoming traffic.During construction, left-turning traffic on Elm Lanewill change to a green arrow during peak traffic 5 to 7 p.m.. During other times, a flashing yellow arrow will allow left turns for the same traffic pattern. Bing said that the three remaining approaches in the intersection will also receive upgraded traffic signals during construction.Bing said that key highlights of the construction, which the city hopes to begin in September, will be to raise Ballantyne Commons Parkway and improve left turn lanes on the parkway to improve visibility. The goal is to also create a larger westbound turn lane at Ballantyne Commons Parkway for greater capacity, and an additional southbound lane on Elm Lane to accommodate increased traffic.