South Charlotte

Traffic, roads will be meeting’s focus

The Ballantyne Breakfast Club will meet Dec. 6 to discuss traffic and road projects in south Charlotte, organizer Ray Eschert said.

“I think people are starting to realize they cut this area a little short as far as funds for roads,” Eschert said. “We’re going to talk about what road projects are planned and what projects would be critical for improving traffic conditions.”

Representatives from the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the Charlotte Department of Transportation and the Bissell Cos., along with some elected officials, will provide updates on various road projects that are planned or nearing completion. The projects include the Interstate 485 widening and the North Community House Road bridge, Eschert said.

Clifton Coble, president of Bissell Development, also is expected to discuss some of the road improvement projects that Bissell is involved in. He said the North Community House Road bridge project is progressing well and company officials anticipate N.C. DOT completing the project by year-end.

The bridge would connect the north side of North Community House Road with the existing North Community House Road in Ballantyne.

Coble also said Bissell is working with the city on the Johnston Road/Ballantyne Commons intersection project because the company discovered some underground utility issues. That project entails creating two sets of dual turn lanes turning onto Johnston Road (U.S. 521) from Ballantyne Commons Parkway.

“We will have a better sense of the schedule at the beginning of 2015,” he said.

Speakers also are expected to discuss possibly extending the widening of I-485 to U.S. 74 and a traffic roundabout at North Community House Road and Bryant Farms Road. Eschert said he also hopes residents and speakers will discuss securing more funding from the city for road improvements.

“We need the people to be involved and engaged with these representatives in expressing the frustrations they’re having, Eschert said. “Because it seems like this area didn’t get a proportional amount of funding from the city’s Capital Improvement Plan.”

Meanwhile, Warren Cooksey, N.C. DOT director of outreach and community affairs for Division 10, said he will update residents on the I-485 completion project.

Division 10 includes Mecklenburg, Union, Cabarrus, Anson and Stanley counties, said Cooksey.

“The Northeastern portion won’t be finished in December, but we are rapidly approaching the total completion of 485,” he said.

Cooksey also will explain to residents the state’s new funding formula, known as the Strategic Transportation Investments law. Before the state passed the new law last year, transportation funding was put in various buckets for different forms of travel.

Now, legislators will follow a new way of allocating money, based on data-driven scoring and local input. Projects will be divided into a three tier system: Statewide, Regional and Divisional and will compete for funding.

“Money will be spent much more efficiently as a result of this change,” Cooksey said. “The funding is now based on data… It’s better to make funding decisions based on what we look like in 2014 rather than what we looked like in 1989.”

Cooksey also will explain Gov. Pat McCrory’s 25-year transportation vision for the state.

“It’s been a while since the Ballantyne Breakfast Club was given a transportation update,” Cooksey said. “It’s time for another one.”