I-485 Weddington Road Interchange

I-485 Weddington Road Interchange

The guest speakers  for our annual meeting on  February 25 were NCDOT Division 10 Super Engineer Brian Davis, and  Warrren Cooksey, Director of Toll Operations, NCDOT Turnpike Authority (formerly Director of Outreach and Community Affairs, NCDOT Division 10).

They were invited to the meeting to discuss the I-485 Weddington Rd interchange and how  it would impact the residents of Providence Plantation during the construction.

Below is a synopsis of the information they provided.

  • Construction of the interchange is expected to commence in autumn 2020 and will take approx. 15-18 months to complete.
  • The construction work currently occurring on Weddington Road is utility work to move the overhead electrical lines from the west side of Weddington Road to the east side.
  • Weddington Road will be widened from two lanes to five lanes with a dedicated turn lane from Northbound Weddington Road into our neighborhood. (See map below).
  • There will be sidewalks on both sides of Weddington Road that will extend from Plantation Market to just north of Winterbrooke Drive and a bicycle lane on the east side of Weddington Road. The sidewalks will also extend a short distance into Plantation Road similar to what was done on High Ridge Road when Providence Road was widened. This is being done at the request of the City of Charlotte.
  • Most of the land needed for the road widening and sidewalks will come from the east side of Weddington Road.
  • Land from the west side of Weddington Road will be needed for drainage, construction and utility easements and will require the removal of our entrance walls.
  • There will be a traffic signal, crosswalks and pedestrian crossing signals at all four corners of the Weddington Road/Plantation Road intersection.
  • The I-485 exit opposite Plantation Road will have left and right turn lanes and a center lane that will allow traffic to turn left or go straight onto Plantation Road.
  • A third lane will be added to Plantation Road at the entrance to our neighborhood,
  • Weddington Road will have at least two lanes in operation throughout the project.
  • Weddington Road will have a 40 MPH speed limit.
  • Changes to the intersection of Weddington Road and McKee Road are not part of this project.
  • Traffic calming devices will not be installed on Plantation Road as part of this project. Plantation Road is a city maintained road and it would be a City of Charlotte responsibility.

Several homeowners had questions that our speakers could not answer and Warren Cooksey said he would obtain the answers and provide them to the HOA at a later date.  Answers to the questions can be viewed from a pdf file” Follow-Up to Questions from PPHOA Meeting” by clicking PPHOA-20200225 follow-up.

Several concerns from homeowners were also discussed, but unfortunately those concerns needed to be discussed and addressed during the several public hearings that took place in 2007 & 2008.  

Two weeks after the annual meeting I met with Brian Davis at our Plantation Road entrance to discus ways that our entrance walls could be saved.  After reviewing   the project map and the survey flags that had been previously placed along the proposed easements, it appeared that the only reason that the south side entrance wall would need to be removed is to allow for the sidewalk on Weddington Road to be extended onto Plantation Road.  A review of the north side entrance revealed that nothing could be done to save that wall.

I expressed the PPHOA’s strong desire to keep the entrance walls.  Brian said that if the new survey that was to be completed that day confirmed the accuracy of the flags already in place, he would make a recommendation that the sidewalk on the south side not be extended onto Plantation Rd.

During our discussion  NCDOT surveyors informed Brian that  due to the abundance of trees alongside Weddington Road they were unable to get an accurate GPS reading to complete the survey. They said that they would have to return at a later date with different equipment.  Brian and I agreed to meet again the Monday after the survey was completed.

On the morning of our meeting,  Brian called me and said that due to the Corona virus he was told to work from home and only report to his office on Fridays.  Unfortunately, a few days later he was told to only work from home and he has been unable to confirm the accuracy of the original survey flags.

The HOA is currently in negotiations with the NCDOT for payment for their acquisition of our entrance walls. The estimates we received to replace the walls, irrigation system and landscaping lighting was twice as much money as we were offered.  I was informed during my last conversation with a NCDOT representative that they would be raising their offer.  We are still awaiting an estimate from our landscaper for the replacement of our bushes, plants and trees before finalizing the agreement with the NCDOT.

For those of you new to the neighborhood or unaware of the history of the I-485 interchange, here is some background information about the project.

The PPHOA first learned that the exit from the inner lanes of the Weddington Road interchange would be opposite our Plantation Road entrance in June 2006.

The following letter was sent to the NCDOT voicing our concern about this.

Providence Plantation Home Owners Association

PO Box 79253

Charlotte, NC 28271

                       

                                                                                    June 15, 2006

Alden Whit-more

Division Project Manager

NCDOT Division 10

Dear Mr. Whitmore: 

I am writing to you on behalf of the residents of the Providence Plantation subdivision in Charlotte, to inform you that we are not in favor of the installation of the on/off ramp for I-485 and Weddington Road as it is proposed directly opposite our neighborhood entrance.

Homeowners are concerned that having the ramp at this location will have a negative impact on their quality of life.  People who commit crimes will have easy access to Providence Plantation and will be able to quickly enter the subdivision, perform criminal acts and escape with relative ease with the convenient access to I-485.

If the ramp is placed where it is presently proposed, we are requesting that you install a 6-8 ft high brick wall along the area of our neighborhood that abuts Weddington Road.

We strongly believe that a brick wall will substantially limit the negative impacts, both actual and perceived, of having an exit ramp from a major highway opposite one of the main entrances into our neighborhood. The wall will facilitate the impression that our homes are separate from the outside traffic. 

We know of no other exits/entrances from a major highway in Charlotte that have been installed directly opposite a primary neighborhood entrance.  We have observed this “wall” remedy applied by developers in essentially all instances where housing is being built near or off of busy roads in our city.  In our case, acceleration of traffic caused by the exit/entrance was not foreseen when our neighborhood was developed.  It will be “put” upon us. Hence, we are asking you for the remediation that would have been provided by any responsible developer who would position housing this closely to heavy traffic. 

Please contact me so that we may have time to supply you with any additional information that may be required for you to favorably consider our request.

Sincerely,

Harvey Katowitz,President

Providence Plantation Homeowners Association

The first public hearing about the project was scheduled for October 2006 with right of way acquisition to begin in August 2007 and construction to begin in Oct, 2009.

The hearing was postponed  and rescheduled for August 2007 and the right of way acquisition and construction begin dates were changed respectively to April 2009 and April 2011.

The following is some of the information that  was provided to me at the August 20, 2007 public hearing:

PURPOSE OF PROJECT 

The purpose of this project is to improve access to Interstate 485 from Weddington Road (SR 3463) and the surrounding communities in Weddington, Matthews, and Charlotte City limits.  Currently, Weddington Road is not directly accessible from Interstate 485.  The John Street and NC 16 interchanges provide access to Weddington Road by way of McKee Road and Trade Street or Pleasant Plains Road.  The proposed interchange, located between John Street and NC 16 interchanges, provides a closer and improved route from Interstate 485 to the project area.  The addition of this interchange will redirect some of the traffic from the NC 16 and John Street interchanges, thereby improving the level of service for all of the involved roadways.

NEED FOR THE PROJECT

The project need is based on increasing accessibility and improving the flow of traffic between Interstate 485 and the town of Weddington, southeast Charlotte, and the town of Matthews.  

This subject part of Interstate 485 is classified as an interstate in the Statewide Functional Classification System and is pat of the National Highway System.  This roadway is the primary route for interstate travel between northern South Carolina and southeastern North Carolina.  Locally, this roadway functions as a major thoroughfare in the mutually adopted Thoroughfare Plan for the City of Charlotte.  Weddington Road is classified as a minor collector in the Statewide Functional Classification System.  The subject project is shown on the 2004 MUMPO Thoroughfare Plan as a proposed interchange.

The proposed interchange will reduce the number of motorists using the adjacent interchanges.

Within the proposed interchange area, wider travel lanes will be constructed along Weddington Road to reduce the potential for vehicles to run off the road.  The project will also enhance safety at the adjacent John Street and NC 16 (Providence Road) interchanges by reducing the volume of traffic using these interchanges. 

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

It is proposed to provide a half-clover interchange between Interstate 485 and Weddington Road that will provide loop/ramp combinations in the northeast and southeast quadrants.  The intersection of the loop/ramp combination in the northeast quadrant will be aligned with Plantation Road.  The loop/ramp combination in the southeast quadrant will provide an offset intersection at Plantation Center Drive.  The proposed typical section for Weddington Road is five lanes with curb and gutter with the additional widening proposed to be to the east side of the existing roadway.  The existing bridge over Interstate 485 will also be widened to the east to carry the added lanes.  Sidewalk is proposed for both sides of Weddington Road.

PURPOSE OF PUBLIC HEARING

Today’s hearing is an important step in the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s (NCDOT) procedure for making you, the public, a part of the project development process. The purpose of the hearing is to obtain public input on the location and design of the proposed project.

Planning and environmental studies on this highway project are provided in the environmental report – Environmental Assessment (EA) and the Interchange Justification Study.  Copies of this report and today’s hearing map displaying the location and design have been available for public review at the Mecklenburg-Union Metropolitan Planning Organization (MUMPO), 600 E. Forth Street, 8th Floor, Charlotte and at the NCDOT Resident Engineer’s Office located at 12033-C East Independence Boulevard, Mathew

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