University City

State crews start Charlotte road repaving projects

Things could be slowing down soon on Charlotte's roads.

State crews are scheduled to begin construction projects this month on nearly 50 miles of highway and secondary roads in Mecklenburg County.

North Tryon Street and Providence Road, as well as W.T. Harris, Independence and University City boulevards are among roadways scheduled for improvements between Oct. 31 and June 30, 2012.

Crews are expected to begin milling, resurfacing and reconstruction on roadway shoulders, and they'll continue working a few projects at a time until colder weather sets in. Any work that crews haven't tackled before the chill arrives will have to wait until spring, said Steve Abbott, a spokesman for N.C. Department of Transportation.

"Usually by Thanksgiving, if the temperature is mid 40s or below, they can't pave anymore," Abbott said. "Rarely is paving work done in January and February."

The work to improve local highways is necessary because 41 percent of the state's roads are rated as fair or poor, according to the federal government.

In 2001, the N.C. general assembly authorized using a portion of the Highway Trust Fund's cash balances for pavement preservation efforts, including strengthening, shoulder widening and resurfacing of the non-interstate roads.

The work is made possible by two contracts worth $13.8 million.

The contracts were awarded recently by N.C. Transportation Secretary Gene Conti. Across North Carolina, N.C. DOT awarded 12 contracts worth $91.3 million.

North Carolina's 78,000-mile state-maintained road system is the nation's second-largest, according to the U.S. Department of Interior's National Atlas.

By comparison, the state ranks 11th in the nation in population and 29th in size, with more than 52,000 square miles.

In addition to providing construction jobs, roadway projects can make highway corridors more attractive to businesses looking for a home, Abbott said.