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 bus lane.
The bus 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 bus lane.
A later project – U.S. 74 Express Lanes: I-277 to Wallace Lane – will convert the bus lane to an express lane for buses and cars.
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.
Sharon Amity Road Interchange
In March 2017, the N.C. Department of Transportation opened the Sharon Amity Road interchange, including a new loop ramp providing access to U.S. 74 East.
When the interchange was under construction, a detour directed motorists along Charleston Drive to access Sharon Amity Road. Now that the loop ramp is open for access to and from U.S. 74 East, Charleston Drive is intended only for local traffic. Drivers wanting to access U.S. 74 should use the new interchange.
Nat Hunter, P.E.
Senior Resident Engineer
Send a message
Resources for Local Property Owners
Although the N.C. Department of Transportation works to minimize the number of homes and businesses displaced by a road project, it is inevitable, in many cases, that a certain amount of private property is needed. The following information explains right of way acquisition and answers questions about the process.