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NCDOT - We'll finish the Charlotte Outer Loop by 2012 - Oh wait, we still have to buy land first though - and then there is that funding problem

From the highway that never stops giving us something to write about - Interstate 485 in Charlotte - we have new news.

Earlier this year, newly elected Governor Beverly Perdue proclaimed that the final piece of construction of Interstate 485 would begin this year. This after a number of years of delays on completing the entire loop.

Well recently, NC Secretary of Transportation Gene Conti said that work will still begin on the final pieces of 485 this year and a 2012 completion date is still in the work. Well, not exactly. (It appears I need to bring back the picture of Lee Corso..."Not So Fast, My Friend!)

There are a few hurdles still left - first the state needs to spend $16 million in acquiring property for construction of the freeway. In fact, Conti concedes that actually construction - you know moving earth, clearing trees and what not - most likely won't begin this year.

In fact, he told Al Gardner of WBT-AM in Charlotte, "I don't think that we can start construction in this calendar year, but starting to acquire property is a way of getting going."

Yet, the promise is to have I-485 completed in 2012 - have they not forgotten that two years is almost the same amount of time that the last piece of 485 faced in just construction delays?

And skepticism isn't only found in this blog - Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory on the latest news on I-485 - "I don't see it in the cards. Actually, I think a promise was made a bit prematurely before a funding source was allowed."

And sooner rather than later - the truth comes out - unless they move funding from another Charlotte area projects - upgrading Independence Blvd. to a freeway, widening I-85 in Cabarrus County or construction of the Monroe Bypass. Which most likely won't happen - so in all honesty - financing won't be available until 2015. (Charlotte.com)

And speaking of funds, Charlotte is in jeopardy of losing federal funding for transportation - the reason? The Metro Charlotte area does not meet air quality standards - specifically ozone. The region may see transportation funding disappear as early as next year. (Charlotte.com)

So what does this mean - will we actually see I-485 completely finished by 2012 - I wouldn't bet the house on it.

For more reading:
$16 mil for land need to complete I-485 -The CLog - Creative Loafing


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