Is the big belt around Charlotte finally going to get its buckle - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Is the big belt around Charlotte finally going to get its buckle?

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

The final phase of the 485 outer loop could be finished in less than a year, and today drivers in north Mecklenburg County saw more signs that progress is on the way, even if it may mean adjusting to some changes on a busy road.

Traffic on Mallard Creek Road has changed as of Thursday.  For drivers, that will mean being aware of the change, getting used to it for a while, and being careful around construction workers and other drivers.

The traffic shift meant a lot of stopping and then starting.  The changes involve Mallard Creek Road, but it's all part of the huge project to finish the last 5.7 miles of the 485 outer loop and the connection with I-85 near the Cabarrus County line.

"We've been here 20 years," Ron Davis said.   "When we first moved here 485 was just a quarter mile long over down near Pineville, seeing it get close to completion is exciting for us."

Ron and Linda Davis, like thousands of others, have watched the progress on the road designed to take some traffic off the interstate near Charlotte, now they're seeing it come closer to completion.

"We lived in Matthews so it will make a big difference coming across town," Linda Davis added.

In the meantime drivers on Mallard Creek should be aware that the traffic has now shifted.  Coming from 85 you move slightly right and connect with Odell School Road, from the other way drivers will go to the left over a new bridge.  

Folks who live in Mallard Woods won't be able to turn right out of the neighborhood, but instead can get to Mallard Creek by way of Breezewood, and all of these changes are marked by signs.

"It will make everything very practical," Antoine Lopez told WBTV.

Lopez has just opened a new coffee shop in the Harris Teeter shopping center.  He's glad to see the work going forward.

"Finally, the flow will be better, and it's like the community will finally have access to every where around." Lopez added.

A DOT spokesperson says if things go as planned, the project to complete the outer loop could finish next December at the same time as the conversion of the I-85 interchange in Cabarrus County.

The 85 widening project in Cabarrus is scheduled to be completed in September of 2014.

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