A regional transportation planning group voted Wednesday to delay a decision on whether to add a carpool lane to I-485 because too many voting members were absent.
The Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization is scheduled to vote on the I-485 lane on April 7.
The N.C. Department of Transportation opened a new lane on the outerbelt in December, which greatly improved traffic flow. But the highway is still heavily congested during the afternoon rush hour.
As part of the construction project, the state created an extra-wide shoulder that it plans to convert into an express toll lane by the end of the decade. Until then, the extra asphalt – which stretches from I-77 to Johnston Road – will be unused.
If the state opened the shoulder as a free, general-purpose lane it would be difficult under state and federal law to then toll the lane. But opening the shoulder as a carpool lane would still preserve the ability to create a toll lane.
A subcommittee of the planning organization has voted against the carpool lane concept.