Planning and development are underway in the Charlotte area on a proposed project to add an express lane in the median of each direction of I-485 between I-77 and U.S. 74 (Independence Boulevard) to improve traffic flow in this critical transportation corridor. Proposed work would also involve adding one general-purpose lane in each direction of I-485 between Rea Road and Providence Road.
Approximately 80,000 to 146,000 vehicles travel along this segment of I-485 every day, making it a heavily congested cooridor. In coordination with other projects in south and southeastern Mecklenburg County, this project would serve as part of a larger network of express lanes that offers drivers the option of more reliable travel times.
To minimize the length of construction along the project corridor, three other projects, in addition to the I-485 express lanes, would also be built at the same time:
- Widening Ballantyne Commons Parkway Bridge in Charlotte
- Building an interchange at Weddington Road in Matthews
- Improving the John Street interchange in Matthews
What are Express Lanes?
Express lanes are toll lanes built within an existing highway that provide additional capacity to accommodate more traffic and offer drivers the option of more reliable travel times. Unlike traditional toll roads, drivers can choose to pay the toll and use the express lanes or continue to drive in the existing non-tolled general-purpose lanes.
I-485 and U.S. 74 Express Lanes Network
express lanes on I-485 would connect with proposed express lanes on nearby U.S. 74 (Independence Boulevard), resulting in a seamless network of express lanes in southern Mecklenburg County that would improve traffic flow and provide reliable travel times.
Proposed express lanes on U.S. 74 would be built in two phases:
- Phase I would involve converting bus lanes to express lanes on a 5.8-mile segment of
U.S. 74 from I-277 to Wallace Lane.
Phase II would involve:
- Widening a 6.3-mile segment of U.S. 74 from Conference Drive to I-485 to six general-purpose lanes (three in each direction)
- Adding one express lane in each direction in the median
short roadway connections that would link roads running parallel to
U.S. 74 at several locations within the project corridor
This project is listed as Project I-5507 in the N.C. Department of Transportation's State Transportation Improvement Program and is funded for $289.5 million.