South Charlotte

Widening of Rea Road to start next year

A portion of Rea Road that looks more like a roller coaster than a travel lane is about to get a much needed face-lift.

The city of Charlotte expects to begin construction on the widening of Rea Road between Colony Road and N.C. 51 during the first half of 2012.

The $22.5 million project entails adding a planted median with left turn lanes, bicycle lanes, curb and gutter as well as sidewalks on both sides of the road.

The city also plans to add a right turn lane at N.C. 51.

One of the major goals of the project is to improve sight distance on the road to make it safer, said Mark Cole, a Charlotte Department of Transportation design section manager.

"Basically if you've driven it, you know it's not up to current city standards. There are pretty significant dips and hills that create some sight distance problems in that area," he said.

Cole said the city will raise two of the biggest dips by 12 feet, making it more level with the height of the hills on the road.

"It will be a gentler curve," he said.

City staff are now in the real estate acquisition phase, purchasing any needed right-of-ways from affected property owners, said Cole.

Cole said south Charlotte residents have voiced overwhelming support for the project, which was paid for by 2008 bonds.