GASTONIA – Drivers will encounter this afternoon a new traffic pattern on a section of Bulb Avenue, as a portion of Rankin Lake Road permanently closes
The new alignment affects Bulb Avenue between Dr. MLK Way and U.S. 321. The change includes permanently closing Rankin Lake Road between Marietta Street and U.S. 321 by the end of today.
The changes are part of the progress crews are making on a $22.8 million project to improve traffic flow at the Interstate 85/U.S. 321 interchange in Gaston County.
This new alignment allows for the construction of a new exit ramp from I-85 South to U.S. 321 North, and moves traffic away from I-85 to a signalized intersection, allowing more turn movements that are not part of the current Rankin Lake/U.S. 321 alignment.
Work on this vital interchange is needed to accommodate the increasing number of vehicle traffic. More than 100,000 vehicles use I-85 every day, with 20 percent consisting of trucks.
The project includes keeping the existing I-85 bridge over U.S. 321, and a new entrance ramp to I-85 North using the abandoned railroad corridor under the bridge.
In addition, the old Rankin Lake Road bridge that provided a connection to Dr. MLK Way will be removed. That connection will be reestablished with the new alignment of Bulb Ave.
The project completion is scheduled for June 2020.