Heavy traffic expected for Charlotte race
The N.C. Department of Transportation is preparing for race events at Charlotte Motor Speedway that will generate significant delays in northeast Mecklenburg County and southwest Cabarrus County Thursday through Sunday. The heaviest traffic is expected on I-85, U.S. 29, N.C. 49 and Bruton Smith Boulevard.
NCDOT will use overhead message signs and portable message signs to alert motorists of problem areas and suggested alternate routes around incidents and congestion. The department advises motorists to “know before you go” by checking real-time travel information online at www.ncdot.gov/traffictravel, by calling 511, or signing up for updates on Twitter.
For motorists traveling from South Carolina: Take I-77 North to the I-485 outer loop (Exit 1B) to U.S. 29 North (Exit 32) or N.C. 49 North (Exit 33).
For motorists traveling from west of Charlotte: Take I-85 North to I-485 (Exit 48) to U.S. 29 North (Exit 32) or N.C. 49 (Exit 33). An alternate route is I-85 North to Poplar Tent Road (Exit 52) to Pitts School Road to U.S. 29 South. Through traffic should remain in the left two lanes of I-85 North to avoid delays near Exit 49.
For motorists traveling from east of Charlotte: Take the I-485 outer loop to U.S. 29 North (Exit 32) or N.C. 49 North (Exit 33).
For motorists traveling from north of Charlotte: Take I-85 South to Poplar Tent Road (Exit 52) to Pitts School Road to U.S. 29 South.
Motorists attending race events will see the following changes on Bruton Smith Boulevard:
• An additional left turn lane from I-85 North to Concord Mills Boulevard;
• An additional left turn lane from Bruton Smith Boulevard to Weddington Road; and
• An additional through lane on Bruton Smith Boulevard from east of Weddington Road to the I-85 interchange.
The improvements are part of a $125 million contract to widen 6.8 miles of I-85 from south of Bruton Smith Boulevard to N.C. 73 in Cabarrus County. The project includes converting I-85 from four to eight lanes, and constructing new interchanges with Poplar Tent Road and N.C. 73. The project is scheduled for completion in November 2013. More information on the project is available at http://www.ncdot.gov/projects/CharlotteOuterLoop/.
Commuters who use I-85 can expect delays on the afternoons of Thursday and Friday, Oct. 13 and 14, and should adjust driving time if possible, or use an alternate route. Additionally, on Saturday, Oct. 16, officials will limit access from I-85 to Exit 49 at approximately 10 p.m.
Motorists who do not need to travel near the speedway during race events are asked to avoid the area. After race events, all traffic will be directed away from the speedway. Motorists are encouraged to plan where to park before arriving, as they will not be allowed to travel toward the speedway.