Charlotte City Manager Says Paving I-485 Ramps Could Ease Congestion

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by Kirk Hawkins
by Terrance Walker

CHARLOTTE, N.C.--Faith, hope and patience has helped Randy Helms survive more than 10 very difficult years. The pain was caused by Interstate 485. He says construction diverted 40 percent of the customers that came to his gas station and store on Oakdale Road. "There was nowhere to turn. No one could give you a straight answer. We didn't really  understand," said Helms.

A 1999 Mecklenburg Union Metropolitan Planning Organization (MUMPO) study recommended delaying paving off ramps until 75 percent of the land within half a mile of the interchange had been developed. But, that development never came. "You had to go around your elbow to get to your backside to find that," said Barry Groover. With the ramps still not open, Barry Groover was one of the customers that had to leave Randy's business for a faster way to work. "I do drive past it a lot and ask myself, are they ever going to finish that, are they ever?" Grover said.

Now, Mumpo says paving the ramps could have a positive impact. Helms hopes they will finally folow through so he can get some much needed relief. "The fact of the matter is its been talked about for so long that until I see the paving trucks up their paving and grading, I don't really believe that's really where I am," said Helms.

The City Manager says NCDOT will determine the next steps. An NCDOT Spokeswoman was unavailable for an interview Wednesday night.

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