More roadwork, tolls planned for Independence Blvd’s future

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - It only takes one trip down Independence Boulevard to know how frustrating traffic can be on the region's primary east-west corridor.

Depending on the time of day, stoplights, accidents and traffic jams can turn the road into a sea of brake lights.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation realizes the road is overloaded, which is why short- and long-term plans are in place to further improve the road.

"It's a true east/west connector," NCDOT spokeswoman Jen Thompson said. "It's the main connector between uptown Charlotte and Union County so it needs some upgrades."

The current construction project—that stretches a little more than a mile-and-a-half from Albemarle Road to Wallace Lane in east Charlotte—came to a halt faster than traffic in morning rush hour last year when the contractor on that project up and left the job.

That project is slated to be finished sometime this summer according to Thompson. But that's not the end of construction on Independence.

"The current project is about 80% complete. So we're still shooting for summer to get it open to everyone," Thompson said. "We need several weeks of good, dry weather. Our controlling operations right now are paving, pouring concrete barrier wall, we need to get pavement markings down, we need to get some striping done out there."

Eventually, NCDOT plans to widen Independence Blvd. all the way down to I-485.

The work on that phase of construction is not currently scheduled to begin until 2022.

That project will be the last piece needed to put the infrastructure in place to have toll lanes along Independence Blvd. from I-277 near uptown to I-485 on the Mecklenburg County-Union County Line.

The current construction project includes building bus lanes that will meet up with the existing bus lanes. Once the entire road is widened down to I-485, those bus lanes will become toll lanes, Thompson said.

The project also includes building additional free lanes, too.

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