A Charlotte bridge that’s part of Independence Boulevard’s widening seemed almost ready to open 1 1/2 years ago, but a confluence of factors has kept it closed.
By the end of March, the Idlewild Road bridge over Independence is expected to finally open, a state Department of Transportation spokeswoman said Friday.
And the contractor on Independence Boulevard’s widening still expects the expanded stretch from uptown to open this summer, DOT spokeswoman Jennifer Thompson said. For drivers, that will mean no more signalized intersections from uptown to Harris Boulevard.
Independence will have four general purpose lanes in each direction and a bus lane in each direction, Thompson said.
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Six-foot sidewalks are being added on both sides of Independence Boulevard, Sharon Amity Road, Idlewild Road and Conference Drive, she said, plus five-foot bicycle lanes on both sides of Sharon Amity, Idlewild and Conference within the project limits.
Thompson cited several reasons why the Idlewild bridge has yet to open:
▪ Devere Construction defaulted on the widening project in late January 2016, delaying work on the overall widening. Lane Construction was later approved as the replacement contractor.
▪ A “fairly significant” amount of grading, storm drain work and paving had to be done in the bridge area.
▪ The city of Charlotte also was doing major water line work at its pump station near Monroe Road during the closure. The work took longer than expected to complete.
▪ Once work resumed under Lane Construction, other parts of the project were more critical to the overall schedule to complete, Thompson said. They included getting traffic on the new Sharon Amity Road bridge and continued widening operations along Independence Boulevard.