South Charlotte

Need potholes repaired? Call the N.C. DOT as soon as you can

Good fortune may be falling on some neighborhoods in southern Mecklenburg and Union County.

State highway workers could be seen last week patching potholes in neighborhoods along Lawyers Road, in Union's Stevens Mill area. It's part of their routine work, not some larger project.

Here's the news from that: There still may be time this year to get potholes patched in your neighborhood.

“The road temperature has to be above freezing for work to be done,” said Jen Thompson, a spokesperson from the Charlotte office of the N.C. Department of Transportation.

She said work on roads in this area started in April and will end Nov. 15.

To get your road on the list, here's the number to call: 704-596-6900.

“We do rely on public input,” Thompson said. “If you see a hazard, we'll try to get someone on it. It's on a first-come, first-served basis.”

Commuter road troubles

I've written before about the stretch of Idlewild Road from Stevens Mill Road in Union County to N.C. 51 in southern Mecklenburg.

It's an almost two-mile-long commuter road that features three stoplights almost within eyesight of each other, the I-485 overpass and a T-intersection.

The stretch starts two lanes wide in Union County at Stevens Mill Road, widens to four lanes about a half-mile to the west then narrows back to two lanes in Mecklenburg County just past the I-485 bridge.

In Mecklenburg, the narrowing point is at Stallings Road. About a year ago, Matthews police put a “no passing” sign there because drivers were using the right shoulder to get around drivers trying to make a right turn.

Driving through that intersection, I see some drivers who obey the sign, and others who don't.

The sign does cause a dilemma when traffic is heavy. If a driver is trying to turn left onto Stallings Road (and that road leads back into Union County to a new elementary school), that delays traffic. Vehicles can back almost to the exit where cars are coming off the Interstate. So, to avoid a backup, some drivers still use the shoulder as a passing lane. That's not a safe maneuver.

This is a problem that Matthews and Stallings, Union and Mecklenburg should consider. The reflex is to call for a traffic light in that spot, but there already are many traffic lights along that stretch. Maybe this is a case where a turn lane should be built. Or maybe there's a solution that hasn't been considered.

Left to their own devices, drivers show they will use the shoulder for a passing lane. And Matthews police show that they'll issue tickets. We need a better solution before someone gets hurt.