Safety improvements to a congested intersection in northwest Charlotte are on track to be finished by September.
North of Interstate 85, Hovis and Oakdale roads join Brookshire Boulevard at skewed angles near the Charlotte Reservoir.
But when construction is complete, officials say, both intersections will form more traditional 90-degree angles. Each also will have a traffic light.
Other changes include moving the intersection of Oakdale and Brookshire north roughly 600 feet from its current location. The old portion of Oakdale will be narrowed and become a path for bicycles and pedestrians.
Other improvements to both intersections will include sidewalks, wheelchair ramps, bicycle lanes and more accommodations for transit users.
Derrel Poole of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Engineering and Property Management said Blythe Development is the contractor responsible for the $6.2 million project – made possible by several years of approved transportation bonds.
Oakdale Road drivers trying to turn left to travel into Charlotte currently have to cross two lanes of oncoming traffic, then wait in the median for a break in traffic, Poole said.
Karl Henrich, who has lived in the Pinebrook neighborhood nearly a decade, said he uses Oakdale to cross Brookshire at least four times a day. “It’s terrible,” he said. “The speed limit is 45 (mph), but no one does it.”
Henrich does delivery work and said he tries to avoid the intersection from 7-9 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. each weekday, which are key rush hours. Henrich said it’s not unusual to see 20 to 25 cars backed up on Oakdale in the mornings, waiting to cross Brookshire to head into Charlotte.
“It’s just dangerous … the roads around here aren’t made for this volume of traffic.”
According to Charlotte Department of Transportation’s high accident listings, there have been 58 collisions at Brookshire and Oakdale in the past five years, and 16 collisions at Brookshire and Hovis, Poole said.
CDOT spokeswoman Linda Durrett said the most common type of crashes during the January 2004 to December 2006 study period involved left-turning vehicles.
Durrett said there are few gaps in southbound traffic on Brookshire for motorists turning left out of Oakdale Road, which is why a signal will be put in at the realigned Brookshire and Oakdale intersection.
According to CDOT traffic counts taken Nov. 13, 2012, 26,800 vehicles drove over the Brookshire Boulevard north of Oakdale Road in both directions, Poole said. He said the data from the Brookshire traffic counter placed south of Oakdale Road recorded 33,200 vehicles traveling both directions.
Poole said the reduction of traffic between the two points is likely due to the amount of traffic that turns off Brookshire onto Oakdale Road.
Alan Bell, an employee at Beam Electric off Brookshire Freeway, lives in Rock Hill and takes Brookshire up to Interstate 485 to go home, rather than trying to cross Brookshire in the evening.
“It’s not worth it,” he said, noting that even though the 485 route takes longer than I-77, he doesn’t mind “the scenic route.”
Bell said he frequently fuels his work vehicle at the Quick Shop No. 2 Shell station at the corner of Brookshire and Oakdale. “It’s a little nuts. I see an almost endless line of cars here all the time,” he said.
“It’s like a rabbit crossing the road. They’re darting (across Brookshire) and you cross your fingers they make it.”
Trenda: 704-358-5089 Twitter: @htrenda
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