Transportation Projects

​I-85 and U.S. 29/74 Project Status Updates - Gaston County

UPDATE 1/31/2019: The construction start date for this project has been pushed out due to balancing funding for NCDOT projects.  The construction is now scheduled to begin in 2023.

I-85 Widening and Improvements Brochure_Page_1

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The North Carolina Department of Transportation is proposing several projects along I-85 and U.S. 29/74 within Gaston County.  Below you will see a amp of the proposed projects along with a table showing the project descriptions, cost estimates, and schedules.  The proposed projects are listed in order of when they are anticipated to begin construction.  The cost estimates and schedules shown are approximate at this time and will be refined as the projects get closer.

STIP Project No. I-5719 - Proposed Widening of I-85 in Gaston County
I-85 Widening Project Map-1
The N.C. Department of Transportation proposes to improve about 10 miles of I-85 from U.S. 321 (Exit 17) in Gastonia to N.C. 273 (Exit 27) in Belmont to address existing and future congestion and to improve traffic flow under STIP Project No. I-5719.  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.  Proposed work would involve widening the roadway from six to eight lanes and replacing or rebuilding bridges over the interstate as well as upgrading interchanges.

Due to its proximity, construction schedule and association with I-85, proposed work also includes widening three-tenths of mile of N.C. 7 from I-85 to U.S. 29 Belmont (STIP Project No. U-3608).

A "best-fit" alignment will be evaluated for the I-95 widening - such as widening the road on the outside or inside - to determine which widening option would minimize environmental impacts within the project corridor.  In addition, various options for upgrading interchanges and relocating bridges will be evaluated where there is not enough clearance to widen I-85.  A complete list of interchanges and bridges to be evaluated are located on the project website under Project Highlights.

As park of the project development process, it is anticipated that an Environmental Assessment (EA) that outlines the impacts and benefits associated with the proposed work will be prepared.  For the project to move forward, the Federal Highway Administration must approve the environmental document and agree with an anticipated Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), which determines if the project will have a significant effect on the environment.  The finalized EA and FONSI are anticipated to be completed in Fall 2019.

A public meeting is anticipated to be held in Spring 2019 to present design options for public review and comment.

Design-Build Process
The design-build process allows NCDOT to hire a team of designers and contractors that are responsible for the design, right of way acquisition and construction of the project.  The team may begin construction on one portion of the project while they finish the design and right of way acquisition for others.  This usually results in faster completion.  Other benefits to a design-build project may be innovative solutions that save time or money, or reduce impacts, and quicker resolution to problems that arise during design and construction.  The process may provide additional alternatives or modifications to the existing alternatives which in turn may reduce costs or impacts.

Website and Project Contacts
For more information and updates on this project, please visit the project website by clicking HERE.

Intersection Improvements at Main Street (NC 7) and
Wilkinson Boulevard (US 29/74)

UPDATE: The project schedule for this project has changed.  It was added to the I-85 widening project scope that is scheduled to begin in 2023.

Project Description
The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) proposes improvements to the Main Street (NC 7) and Wilkinson Boulevard (US 29/74) intersection.  The proposed project is in the City of Belmont within Gaston County. 

Purpose/Need: Improve the traffic flow of the intersection.  Currently, the intersection is congested and is operating below an acceptable Level of Service. 
  • Peak AM/PM traffic: the intersection operates at Level of Service E (unstable, congested).  
  • Level of Service:  is a quantitative measure of traffic operational conditions.  Six levels of service are defined for each type of roadway and given a letter designation from A: representing good operating conditions to F: representing unsatisfactory operating conditions.   
Traffic Analysis:
  • 2040 Traffic: Existing Intersection Configuration
    ​- Level of Service: F
    - Congested, Long Delays, Stop-n-Go
  • 2040 Traffic: Proposed Michigan Left Configuration
    - Level of Service: C
    - Reduced Congestion, Better Traffic Flow
    - 30 - 60% Reduction in Crashes
    - 20 - 50% Traffic Capacity Improvement