Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I-485: Still no plan

The plan to accelerate construction on the last piece of Charlotte's outerbelt still isn't much of a plan.

A recap: Last month, Gov. Bev Perdue was in Mint Hill to tout the repaving of N.C. 218, a road project funded with stimulus dollars. During her press conference, Perdue said construction on the last segment of I-485 in northeast Mecklenburg would begin at the end of the year. It's not scheduled for construction until 2015, so that's big news. Transportation Secretary Gene Conti, also at the media event, backed up his boss, saying construction would start by the end of 2009.

I wouldn't be surprised if Perdue, eager to show Charlotte some love, jumped the gun in her announcement. One clue is that Conti didn't yet have any details during a Charlotte visit Wednesday, even after questioned directly by Matthews Mayor Lee Myers and Charlotte city council member Anthony Foxx.

Myers and Foxx, as members of the Mecklenburg Union Metropolitan Planning Organization, had to decide Wednesday night whether to spend $20.5 million in stimulus money on local road projects, such as widening N.C. 73 in Huntersville, or whether to dedicate the money to the outerbelt.

They asked the secretary if they didn't spend the money on the outerbelt, would construction begin this year?

Conti: "It means it's harder. It doesn't mean it can't be done."

He said later that it's "our challenge to ID those resources (to build it)."

Conti has said one possibility to fund the $220 million outerbelt segment would be to use some money socked away to build the Monroe Connector/Bypass. The legislature last summer voted to help fund that road, freeing as much as $180 million.

Conti said one possibility is that some stimulus dollars from other states may come to N.C. if those states can't spend them fast enough. (Not sure if it's going to happen. I have a feeling states will be able to spend their highway dollars, even if it's not on the best projects.)

It's quite possible work will begin on the outerbelt in late 2009 or early 2010, as Perdue has pledged. But Conti didn't seem as confident Wednesday as he did last month in Mint Hill.

MUMPO ultimately voted Wednesday night to spend its money on local projects. Several members were skeptical whether the state will find the money to build the road quickly.

"I’m disappointed we are being asked to fund one of the governmor’s earmarks," said Weddington Mayor Nancy Anderson. "The governor committed - she doesn't need to take our money."


Jason H said...

These idiots who planned the road need to all be fired.

Just drive the belt and look at the design: 4 and 5 lanes in places like ALbemarle Rd. and on the south end around Brookshire back to Pineville. Where were their brains when they made 2 lanes from Hwy 74 to I-77. I sit in that traffic every day and have to wonder if a monkey could have come up with a better design and plan.

Anonymous said...

Blame this one on Mrs. Bev Jason H. ... I knew she was on a pipe dream when she made that statement....

And if you think you can do any better why don't you go get yourself a Civil Engineering degree and move to Raleigh .... better yet take the bus to work and stop your whining

Aaron said...

unfortunately when the design was committed to build the section of 485 on the south east part of the county, nothing was there. When they bought the land, designed the road, and originally opened 485 from hwy 74 to I-77 there wasn't much out there and traffic was relatively light to begin with.

And then... everything exploded on that side of town. But yet no one with the NC DOT paid notice that traffic was dramatically increasing. Basically its like someone had a heart attack, went to the hospital, died hours later, was put into the morgue - AND then the Dr. runs into the room with a crash cart.

Someone should have AT LEAST built the bridges so that the road could be widened. Heck when I-77 was built 40 years ago they designed the road to accommodate growth. These idiots did fix the design flaws of the original section when building the newer segments, it just of course doesn't help the current problems in Ballentyne and Pineville.

Anonymous said...

As of May of this year, Atlanta's outerbelt will have been completed for forty, count'em 40 years. How can Charlotte be 40 years behind Atlanta? What a corrupt state govco, NC.

Jay Heikes said...

Keep in mind that the Perimeter, as its known in ATL, has brought more trouble than its worth. There are parts that have eight lanes going each way and it is still at a dead standstill for most of the day.

JAT said...

What a joke.

Why anyone believed that crap about finishing 485 "ahead of sked" escapes me. It was instantly absurd.

There is no money. Period.

As for the Southern leg's capacity, NC DOT built it to "rural bypass" standards. I kid you not.

Anonymous said...

When I moved to Charlotte in the early 90's, Raleigh was in the process of adding a fourth lane to its completed three-lanes-each-way bypass(which is now its inner bypass). Charlotte had just opened the first, two-lanes-each-way leg of its bypass. I never could figure out why anyone in NCDOT would think that Charlotte's population warranted a four-lane bypass while Raleigh needed an 8-lane bypass.

kickazzz2000 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Big Surprise. That's what we get when we vote for enviromental wacko's.

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone question the integrity of the Governor – If she says she can build a 7mile 8 lane road on land the state does not own in under 4 year – I support that. Its better then the last handful of Governor who kept saying wait wait wait….

Anonymous said...

Can anyone understand a word Bev Perdue says?

Anonymous said...

Government planning usually proves to be inefficient and expensive, and government-run roads are no exception.

Because there is no price mechanism to balance the supply and demand of government services, the result is shortages and rationing. Thus, we have rush hour traffic daily and the service providers have no direct incentive to improve the situation.

Anonymous said...

I fail to see how widening 485 from providence to 77 will help. It will only add traffic quicker to the standstill on 77 northbound in the mornings.