Motorists driving North Tryon Street south of the I-85 exit last weekend got their first real taste of the intense road reconstruction about to engulf our main thoroughfare through University City. Expect to encounter this level of work between Old Concord Road and UNC Charlotte throughout the year, as Blue Line Extension construction crews widen North Tryon to accommodate light-rail tracks in the median.
We’ve been seeing work along North Tryon for the last year, as crews relocated utility lines and began erecting retaining walls. Now the actual road reconstruction shifts into high gear, said CATS spokesperson Sayra Brynn.
“Work will start in in mid-February from Old Concord Road to where the light-rail line comes onto campus,” she said. “There will be lots of crews and lots of work pretty much everywhere.”
What to expect
Last weekend’s work between Orr Road and Austin Drive is typical of what we will encounter throughout the University City stretch of North Tryon Street: periodic lane closures, shifting of traffic lanes, narrowing of existing travel lanes, pedestrian path changes, bus-stop relocations and traffic delays. Left turns and U-turns will be limited to signalized intersections.
At various times, side roads along North Tryon Street will temporarily close and traffic will be detoured. The speed limit throughout the transit-line construction zone has been lowered to 35 mph.
Be careful, stay alert and have patience
All of this is being done to protect motorists, pedestrians and construction crews. CATS asks drivers to stay alert, plan ahead and follow directions from flaggers and signs along North Tryon Street.
Rebuilding the roadway will take several months, followed next year by installation of the rail lines and electrical system. CATS hopes to have the Blue Line Extension begin operation in early 2017.
Upcoming meeting for businesses
CATS will hold a business information meeting in mid-March to share construction details, explain resources available to businesses and hear concerns. Post-card invitations with the time and place will soon go out to businesses along the North Tryon Street construction zone, Brynn said.
“We encourage businesses to come and be informed on what is happening and to ask questions,” she said. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-336-4064 for details.
Other BLE construction impacts
Construction of the 9.3-mile Blue Line Extension is affecting several streets and even the Toby Creek Greenway at UNC Charlotte. Here are some recent announcements:
• Eastway Drive detour continues – Blue Line Extension crews are replacing the Eastway Drive bridge with a longer one that will allow both the existing NC Rail Road and Blue Line Extension tracks to run under Eastway Drive. Motorists and pedestrians can use Sugar Creek or Craighead roads as alternate routes.
• Toby Creek Greenway closed through late February – BLE construction crews have temporarily closed the Toby Creek Greenway at the marked construction crossing, where the future Blue Line Extension will cross the greenway. The closure to install bridge foundations over Toby Creek will last until about Feb. 23.
• East 9th Street closed until April – East 9th Street between College and Brevard streets downtown is closed through early April for BLE construction. Motorists can get around the work zone via Brevard Street, East 9th Street (south of closure), North Davidson Street and East 7th Streets. Local access will be maintained to businesses and parking facilities.
Several ways to stay informed
Charlotte and CATS have provided several ways for the public to stay current on the BLE construction project. These include: