Charlotte is in the process of buying land for a project that will extend University City Boulevard nearly a mile, connecting it to a second major thoroughfare and filling in a roadway gap in a busy, growing part of University City.
Construction of the four-lane road is scheduled to begin in spring 2013.
Work will begin at Neal Road and continue to the planned new alignment of Graham Street in the Derita area.
The $10.8 million project also will bring a new traffic signal to the intersection of University City Boulevard and Neal Road.
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“The street extension will provide transportation choices by linking Graham Street, Sugar Creek Road, Rumple Road and several neighborhoods with hundreds of homes with direct access to I-85, UNC Charlotte and many other public and private facilities,” said Ashton Watson, Charlotte Department of Transportation project manager in the Planning and Design Division.
The existing section of the road, between North Tryon Street and Neal Road, was formerly named City Boulevard. The project to extend the road is funded by the 2008 city transportation bonds.
Construction is scheduled to be completed in spring 2015.
With 12,200 vehicles per day expected to use the road by 2015 and 17,200 per day by 2030, some residents urged CDOT to expand the road to four lanes and add a traffic signal at the intersection of Neal Road and University City Boulevard.
“I think four lanes are better than two because of the planned bus traffic and school-related traffic,” one unnamed resident said in a report published by CDOT during planning for the road.
“Please take special care to address the intersection of Neal Rd and University City Blvd. A traffic light is necessary.”
Yet some other residents fail to see the project as a worthwhile addition, despite plans for bicycle lanes, a divided and landscaped median, street lights and sidewalks.
“Connecting it to the Graham Street area will just bring more crime to the U-City area,” Bill Palian, a resident of the Wexford neighborhood since 1995, wrote in a recent email to the Observer.
“It will not improve traffic as more development will occur, taxing an already crowded road system and schools in the area.”