GASTON COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Existing congestion on Interstate 85 from U.S. 321 to N.C. 273 is prompting a widening project in Gaston County, possibly impacting nearby residents.
Work on the interstate could mean widening the roadway from six to eight lanes, upgrading interchanges and relocating or replacing railroad bridges.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation says they're evaluating "best-fit" alignments to determine which option would minimize environmental impacts while meeting future needs.
Addition right of way will be required in some areas, possibly impacting nearby homes and businesses. NCDOT says they will have a clearer idea of which properties will be affected by 2019. "Exact impacts won't be known until completion of final designs," NCDOT says.
"This critical stretch of highway connects Gastonia to other cities and towns in Gaston County and serves as a vital corridor for commuters within the Charlotte metropolitan area," NCDOT says of the nearly 10-mile stretch.
NCDOT says they must evaluate different design options since there is not enough clearance to widen I-85 under existing bridges and interchanges.
"There are eight interchanges, six roadway bridges, and four railroad bridges over I-85 within the project limits, "NCDOT says.
Several neighborhoods will have noise walls installed. "Once a preferred alternative is selected and final designs are complete, a final design noise analysis will be done, and noise barriers will be recommended for impacted areas in accordance with the 2016 NCDOT Traffic Noise Policy," NCDOT says.
Property owners and tenants in impacted areas will have the opportunity to vote on whether they want a noise barrier.
To keep up with the progress of the project, click here.