Tuesday, May 19, 2009

How the state will pay for the outerbelt

N.C. Transportation Secretary Gene Conti is scheduled to be in Charlotte Wednesday, where he will discuss with planning officials ways to finish the outerbelt faster, per Governor Bev Perdue's pledge.

I haven't seen the plan, but I understand it's pretty simple:

1) Postpone construction on Independence Boulevard.

2) Use some money programmed for the Monroe Connector/Bypass.

Conti's plan apparently doesn't call for using $20 million in stimulus money, which could be a small carrot to Mecklenburg in exchange for having the $176 million Independence Boulevard project delayed. Using about $50 million in Monroe funds won't necessarily delay that project. The N.C. Turnpike Authority believes it can still build the road with state funds and tolls.

Will the Mecklenburg Union Metropolitan Planning Organization go for an outerbelt-Independence Boulevard swap?

This proposal isn't exactly what many envisioned when Perdue pledged construction on I-485 would begin this year. But Conti has been getting solid reviews from many Charlotteans, who appreciate his willingness to spend time in the Queen City.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Northern route chosen for Garden Parkway

The N.C. Turnpike Authority has recommended the "northern route" for the Garden Parkway - toll road linking Charlotte/Douglas International Airport with south Gaston County.

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement recommended Alternative 9 as the path for the toll road, which could cost as much as $1.5 billion.

The description of the route, according to the authority's press release: "Alternative 9 begins at I-485 just west of the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport and moves northwest with an interchange at NC 273 (Southpoint Road), a corridor described locally as the “Northern Route.” From there, the project moves southwest with interchanges at NC 279 (South New Hope Road) and NC 274 (Union Road). It then moves west staying south of Union New Hope Road with interchanges at Bud Wilson Road, Linwood Road, Robinson Road and US 321."

The road is scheduled to open to traffic in 2014.