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I-485 widening starts

By Elisabeth Arriero
earriero@charlotteobserver.com

Preliminary work on the Interstate 485 widening project in south Mecklenburg was scheduled to begin Monday night after state transportation officials postponed the Sunday start because of bad weather.

The N.C. Department of Transportation is strengthening the shoulders on I-485 between Interstate 77 and Johnston Road.

Work is scheduled every night this week through Friday, with crews working on the inner loop between Johnston Road and Interstate 77.

Crews will switch to the outer loop in the same area from Sunday night through April 26.

The work is needed to make the outside shoulders strong enough to carry traffic during the widening project.

The project will add a lane on each side of I-485 between Rea Road and I-77.

Here’s an overview of the project and how it will affect south Charlotte drivers:

• Total cost: $83.3 million.

• Original cost estimate: $97 million.

• Length: 9.2 miles, between I-77 and Rea Road.

• Traffic: 121,000 vehicles daily.

• Company overseeing the project: Lane Construction Corp. of Cheshire, Conn.

• Speed limit change during the project, which is expected to take effect within two weeks: From 65 mph to 55 mph.

• Initial work is expected to end on April 26. Actual widening is expected to start in late May or June.

• Completion date: December 2014.

The north end of the outer belt is scheduled to be done in June 2014.

Arriero: 704-804.2637; Twitter: @earriero
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