Idlewild-Independence intersection closure Sunday night

The N.C. Department of Transportation said Saturday that the opening of the new Conference Drive bridge, set for Sunday, has been postponed to Tuesday night.

It is the second postponement for the project, which also will include the partial closing of the nearby Idlewild Road-Independence Boulevard intersection.

Transportation officials did not give a reason for the most recent postponement but said wet weather had caused a delay this month. The bridge, the first of three new overpasses planned on Independence, is now scheduled to open at midnight Tuesday.

The Conference bridge will connect Idlewild Road with Monroe Road near East Mecklenburg High. It also gives pedestrians a way to cross Independence Boulevard. The Idlewild-Independence intersection will be closed so construction can begin on an Idlewild bridge over Independence Boulevard. That project is scheduled for completion in October 2016.

Closing the intersection will have only minimal impact on motorists trying to get from outbound Independence to outbound Idlewild – or from inbound Idlewild to inbound or outbound Independence. They will use a new intersection and ramp a short distance west of the current intersection.

But Idlewild motorists no longer will be able to cross Independence, and there will be no way to turn from Independence to the portion of Idlewild Road headed toward Monroe Road.

“Motorists who want to get to Monroe Road from Idlewild can make a left turn at the new Conference Drive-Idlewild Road intersection and take Conference Road to Monroe Road,” said Jen Thompson, of the Transportation Department.

According to the most recent DOT statistics, about 21,000 Idlewild motorists each day cross or turn at Independence.

When the Independence Boulevard expressway and widening project is completed in late 2016, there will be overpasses at Conference Drive, Idlewild Road and Sharon Amity Road. Independence Boulevard will be an expressway out to Wallace Lane.