A highly anticipated bridge connecting North Community House Road across Interstate 485 likely will not open to motorists until April, roughly four months after originally projected, transportation officials said.
Once the bridge is open, there still will be continued work on the project, including lane closures, said Jordan-Ashley Baker, a North Carolina Department of Transportation spokeswoman.
Baker said those lane closures are necessary to complete work on the bridge’s sidewalk, finish the final striping and do landscaping.
Ballantyne-based Bissell Cos. entered a reimbursement agreement in 2011 with the city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County in which the company agreed to pay for public road improvements. The funds went to support improvements on Community House Road, John J. Delaney Drive (now Brixham Hill) and Ballantyne Commons Parkway.
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During a 15-year period beginning in 2015, Bissell is entitled to be refunded up to $11million through a portion of the higher taxes paid from increases in the tax value of Ballantyne Corporate Park assets. Specifically, 55percent of those taxes would go to the general funds of the city and the county, and 45percent would reimburse Bissell for the road improvements.
The North Community House Road improvements included adding dual left lanes, with signals installed at three corners of the intersection, making North Community House Road a four-lane road and installing stoplights.
The bridge, which will connect the north side of North Community House Road with the existing North Community House Road in Ballantyne, was expected to be complete in December.
The project was delayed until January, then again until April. Baker said part of the delay was because several organizations had to coordinate during the project. Those included N.C. DOT, the city of Charlotte and Bissell Cos.
Bissell spokeswoman Christina Thigpen said weather also has played a role, including the recent ice and snow storms.
“Weather is always a potential concern, particularly during construction in cold/winter weather,” said Baker in an email.
Still, officials said they feel confident the bridge will open soon.
“It appears a lot of progress has been made this week, and we are optimistic that the completion of the bridge is imminent,” said Clifton Coble, president of Bissell Development.
Resident Marc Heighton, who has lived at Ballantyne Country Club since 1997, said he’s eager to see the bridge completed.
He recalled how he was thrilled the day officials announced the bridge because he knew it would relieve some of the traffic congestion in the area.
Heighton added that his wife, Lorraine, commutes to uptown every day and has said “the traffic in Ballantyne is the heaviest she encounters during her entire route.”
“I guess this is the price you pay for living in such a high-growth and high-demand area,” he said. “We are looking forward to the day they open the new bridge.”