University City

Road work ahead of schedule

The state construction project that is bringing two new intersections to North Tryon Street in University City is nearly a year ahead of schedule and is expected to wrap up by the end of October.

Until then, lanes will be closed periodically at night as city crews finish paving the roughly 2-mile stretch between Orchard Trace Drive and Brookside Lane.

Crews for the N.C. Department of Transportation also are continuing concrete repair work on the Interstate 85 connector road to North Tryon.

The exact date for the opening of the second intersection, at North Tryon and the I-85 connector ramp at Exit 42, is still to be decided, said Sonji Mosley, project manager for Charlotte Department of Transportation.

"Both the intersection and the I-85 connector ramp will open at the same time," Mosley said.

Dry weather, support from utility companies and modifications to the schedule for various phases of construction helped city crews finish most of the work ahead of schedule, said Dan Neal, senior construction inspector.

The 26-month contract is expected to wrap up in October after 16 months, weather permitting.

Final costs for the $25.5 million project have not been calculated, but Mosley expects the project to come in below or at budget.

The money is coming from a 1998 transportation bond.

The first phase of the project was completed in 2009.

It extended City Boulevard to North Tryon Street at University City Boulevard.

The city started the second phase in June last year, to widen North Tryon and add two at-grade intersections.

That part of the project has eliminated the convergence of roads known as "the weave." About 80,000 vehicles move through the area daily.

Before construction started, motorists often traveled at high speeds, changing lanes frequently as several roads and turn lanes intersected in a confusing way.

The roads were North Tryon, University City Boulevard and the I-85 connector.

The new intersections and traffic signals are expected to make travel through the area safer by slowing traffic and creating more orderly movement between major roads.

Plans also call for sidewalks, planting strips, bicycle lanes and space in the median for a proposed light rail line.