Project Overview and Purpose
The N.C. Department of Transportation is converting a 1.6-mile stretch of U.S. 74 (Independence Boulevard) into an expressway – limiting where traffic enters and exits the roadway – from Albemarle Road (N.C. 24/27) to east of Wallace Lane in east Charlotte. Work also involves building interchanges at Sharon Amity Road and Idlewild Road and building a bridge on Conference Drive over U.S. 74.
Work will enhance mobility and improve traffic flow and safety in the area. Current traffic volumes exceed 70,000 vehicles per day in the vicinity of Idlewild Road. By 2030, volumes are expected to range from 77,200 to 91,000 vehicles per day.
U.S. 74 is a primary east-west route in the region and has been identified by NCDOT as a Strategic Highway Corridor, a crucial piece in an ongoing effort to enhance transportation, economic development and environmental stewardship in North Carolina.
A six-lane divided roadway, U.S. 74 (Independence Boulevard) is being widened so that each direction has four general purpose lanes and one express lane. With the option of an express lane, drivers can pay a toll to use the lane and avoid traffic delays.
The express lanes are being built in the median and will be separated from the general purpose lanes by 2-foot buffers. A single barrier wall will be built in the center of the median to separate the opposing express lane.
Work also involves:
- Removing traffic signals on U.S. 74 between Harris Boulevard and Uptown Charlotte
- Building an interchange at Sharon Amity Road, with a bridge carrying Sharon Amity Road over U.S. 74
- Building an interchange at Idlewild Road, with a bridge carrying Idlewild Road over U.S. 74
- Building a bridge over U.S. 74 to extend Conference Drive to the northwest to intersect with Idlewild Road
- Removing the existing "left-over" on U.S. 74 East at Wallace Lane
In addition to roadway improvements, NCDOT is building sidewalks and bicycle lanes on both sides of Independence Boulevard, Sharon Amity Road, Idlewild Road and Conference Drive.
Nat Hunter, P.E.
Senior Resident Engineer
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Resources for Local Property Owners
In many cases, it is inevitable that a certain amount of private property must be acquired. The displacement of homes and businesses is minimized to the extent practicable. The following brochures will answer questions about this process.