NCDOT, city leaders give intersection plan update

by Aaron Burns

CHARLOTTE – The North Carolina Department of Transportation’s increase in monetary support for the intersection of Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road and Brookshire Boulevard should lead to better traffic flow in the area, according to local and state leaders.

City leaders and NCDOT staff updated the public on the intersection’s planned improvements in a March 21 meeting at Cook’s Memorial Presbyterian Church.

There will be more changes to the intersection than were originally planned thanks to the extra support, Charlotte City Councilman James Mitchell said.

“We had a $250,000 budget (from Charlotte) and the state was able to come up with another $650,000,” he said.

“(The budget) could go up, because some of the feedback we’ve heard, like additional pedestrian crossing. We’ll go back to the drawing board and see if we can find additional funds for that. It’s one of safety. We want this intersection to be pedestrian-friendly.”

Mitchell added that the project was slated for 2028, but is scheduled to be finished later this year.

NCDOT Engineer Brett Canipe told the crowd, which spent roughly 30 minutes in a question-and-answer session in addition to the presentation, that the DOT recognizes the project’s importance. Sen. Joel Ford was also in attendance.

What began as simple upgrades to the intersection near Walmart have grown into a major road project. The initial plan was a new right turn lane on westbound Mt. Holly-Huntersville road, which would have cost $250,000 by itself.

“The interaction between these roads is important and probably controls a lot of people’s time,” Canipe said. “I think we’ve got a terrific plan. It’s been an effort from the city and NCDOT put together.”

Canipe added the purpose of the project is to reduce congestion and improve safety.

“Those things go hand-in-hand,” he said. “By improving the number of lanes you’ve got turning, that (traffic) signal timing is what really makes this project worthwhile. With additional lanes, we’ll get more signal time. It’s a win-win.”

Proposed changes to Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road include:

• An eastbound right-turn lane

• Median construction to Couloak Drive

• A traffic signal at Couloak Drive

• Converting existing pavement to two through lanes from the Walmart entrance to Couloak Drive.

In addition, changes to Brookshire Boulevard could include adding a second northbound left turn lane.

Mitchell and Canipe said the door is open for other changes should residents speak out for them. The biggest concerns voiced at the meeting involved whether or not more lanes would increase traffic, and how the adjustments would affect people who don’t commute to Charlotte for work.

“It’s one thing to have a design, but you’re hearing real practical experience and that input is invaluable,” Mitchell said.

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