Fate Of New Plan To Ease Congestion On Interstate 85 To Be Decided At Meeting This Week

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CONCORD, N.C.–More than 42 thousand cars a day, and at least 20 million people each year. This is the volume of traffic that passes through exit 49 on Interstate 85 in Concord. It’s part of the drive that Catawba College students Karah Abbott and Sarah Suarez know all too well. “Every time I come through here I have to sit in traffic,” said Abbott. “There’s always going to be traffic… especially in Charlotte,” said Suarez.

State officials worry continued gridlock could slow down economic growth on one of the busiest interchanges in North Carolina. “There’s no doubt this very important interchange is poorly designed, not only for cars, but for pedestrians, and this is a major travel and tourism destination,”
said North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory. McCrory says he’s met with Concord city officials about the 9-million-dollar plan to change things. The governor says they are now trying to figure out how exactly to pay for the proposed sidewalks, crosswalks, and a flyover overpass.

“You gotta do what you gotta do sometimes, but from time to time it does get stressful,” said Concord resident Eric Olson. Olson spends a lot of time behind the wheel getting back and forth to each of his three jobs in the area. He looks forward to the easier access to Concord Mills Mall, Charlotte Motor Speedway, and other nearby attractions.  “If traffic got changed up, it would definitely help me out, along with everybody else,” said Olson.

The Cabarrus Rowan Metropolitan Planning Organization will review the flyover overpass proposal at a meeting on Wednesday.