A plan in North Carolina that would pave the way for the completion of an interstate north of Charlotte has passed the state’s House.
The measure now moves to the Senate where legislators will continue the discussion about whether an expansion of the existing Interstate 485 south of the city should come before work is complete on the entire loop.
Rep. Drew Saunders, D-Huntersville, the bill’s sponsor, said it is unfair to delay work on the northern loop for expansion in south Charlotte, where a completed loop already exists.
“They’ve had an outer belt down there for 19 years,” Saunders told News 14 in Charlotte. “And in the northern part of the county, we don’t have anything.”
HB248 would effectively keep construction in the University City area northeast of Charlotte ahead of widening the road in south Charlotte from four to six lanes. According to The Associated Press, that could push back any widening of the congested southern leg by at least another decade.
The state’s original road-building plan announced earlier this year had the northeastern leg starting construction in 2011. Widening the southern portion, the first leg of the road to open, was not included in the state’s seven-year schedule.