Matthews intersection reopens days before first day of school

(Ben Williamson | WBTV)
(Ben Williamson | WBTV)
NC 51 and Idlewild Road roundabout map (Source: NCDOT)
NC 51 and Idlewild Road roundabout map (Source: NCDOT)

MATTHEWS, NC (WBTV) - A busy intersection between Mint Hill and Matthews opened Saturday after being shut down for nearly two months due to the construction of a new roundabout.

According to a spokesperson with the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the intersection of U.S. 51 and Idlewild Road reopened Saturday in time for the first day of school for Mecklenburg and Union County students Monday.

The intersection has been closed since June 23 due to the construction of the roundabout.

"Roundabouts are one way we work to increase safety. They are going to become more prominent in other areas around the region," said Jen Thompson of the NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT). "People try and run the red light, and it causes crashes too. So this is a safety enhancement. It also moves large volumes of traffic through quicker and it is easier to maintain."

The NCDOT awarded a $1.8 million contract to build the roundabout at the intersection and Blythe Construction, Inc is the lead contractor on the project.

The project was expected to be complete by August 18, but the NCDOT said a utility owner did not relocate their utilities, which then remained in place for several weeks.  Because of the delay, the contractor could not work on one corner of the project, according to the NCDOT.

Businesses in the area of the construction have seen a 25 percent to 40 percent revenue loss since the project began.

RELATED: Busy intersection set to close in Mint Hill, business owners concerned

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