A new road linking Ikea Boulevard and McCollough Drive that should open this summer will create a cut-through from University City Boulevard to West W.T. Harris Boulevard.
Construction began last summer as a joint effort between the city and DDR Corp., which is also the developer for the new Belgate shopping center being built off of Ikea Boulevard.
Shopping Center Drive will also be extended to intersect with the new section of Ikea Boulevard. Another extension of Ikea Boulevard, just south of University City Boulevard, will be built to connect with MacFarlane Boulevard at a later date.
The shopping center, set to open this spring, will include the Ikea store and extend from MacFarlane Boulevard to Shopping Center Drive, and from Interstate 85 to North Tryon Street. Other major tenants will include Wal-Mart, Furniture Row, Hobby Lobby, Marshalls, Cost Plus World Market, PetSmart, Old Navy, Shoe Carnival and Ulta.
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A DDR spokesman said the company will not release further details on the shopping center until March.
Engineers from the development division of the Charlotte Department of Transportation said that in addition to a street network, the road connector will provide pedestrians, cyclists and motorists a route parallel to North Tryon Street. The new roads, they said, will also reduce congestion on North Tryon Street and give access to shopping from both McCollough Drive and North Tryon Street.
They also said that Ikea Boulevard has two lanes in each direction, a raised median and bicycle lanes in each direction from University City Boulevard to Brookside Lane.
From Brookside Lane to Shopping Center Drive, the road will narrow to one lane on each side with on-street parking on both sides. On-street parking will intermittently continue up the new Ikea Boulevard to where it meets McCollough Drive.
Ikea Boulevard and McCollough Boulevard will connect with a roundabout, CDOT engineers said, which will provide continuous traffic flow.
CDOT Spokeswoman Linda Durrett said that the road project total costs are not available, but that the city will reimburse DDR with a maximum amount of more than $5.38 million.