Motorists frustrated over north Charlotte road project

Updated: May. 24, 2019 at 8:47 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The North Graham Street extension project in north Charlotte is one of the biggest and most complex road construction projects in Charlotte. It’s been underway for five years, since 2014.

A lot of folks are wondering if it will ever be completed.

It’s been said, “Rome wasn’t built in a day," but some folks believe Rome was built a lot quicker than the North Graham Street extension project.

It’s a huge project, encompassing more than three miles of roadway. It’s complex as well, largely in part because of extensive utility issues that actually led to a one year delay on the project.

Record-breaking rain over the last year also caused delays. That has brought on a lot of frustration from motorists.

It’s something Jen Thompson of the North Carolina Department of Transportation understands. She says, “It’s not unusual to have, you know, problems like this on projects. Our goal with every project is to deliver it on time and under budget. That’s our goal every time. But we run into delays like this across the state and we have to partner with the contractor to work through it, to deliver it. And we’re just running into some unique issues with this one.”

One of the biggest concerns many people have about the project, is the intersection here at Harris Boulevard and Mallard Creek Road. It's been more than two years since the two turning lanes from Harris Boulevard onto Mallard Creek Road were reduced to one lane.

The big question many motorists have been asking is: why was it necessary to shut down the turning lane so long ago, when so little has been done at the intersection in that time? Thompson explains, “It was one of the early phases of the project where we had to remove curb, gutter, sidewalk. They had to install some sewer and they had to keep that traffic control in place."

The good news is, DOT says significant construction work on the intersection will get underway by the end of June. Thompson adds, "But we hope that we can have the public's understanding, that we've got a date in sight, we want to meet that date. We're doing everything we can to be aggressive as we can about it. Hopefully we'll have a good summer. We'll have a dry summer. And we can really make some progress out here, but understanding that, you know, we've already had these other delays because of utilities. Because of weather last year and because we've added other work to the job, so that has extended the life of the project."

The project completion date has been pushed back to November of this year. If the contractor hasn’t completed the work by then, the state will begin imposing fines of $4,000 a day.

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