Rea/Hwy. 51 intersection work could end this weekend

Construction crews and Charlotte engineers are hoping the weather stays nice enough over the next few days for work to finally wrap up at the intersection of Rea Road and Highway 51/Pineville-Matthews Road in south Charlotte.
Construction work during the past few months has created backups at times at the heavily used intersection. Crews have been adding turn lanes at the intersection to make traveling in the area safer and decrease congestion and wait times for drivers. That work, in addition to repaving work going on this week at the intersection, should be finished on Saturday, according to Imad Fakhreddin with Charlotte Engineering and Property Management. “Based on the plans now, if weather allows, they will finish with the intersection by Saturday,” Fakhreddin said on Tuesday, Sept. 18, though added “weather could push it back to next week.”
Saturday’s completion of work at the intersection would be a big step in the history of a project that first started in 2002. Some $22.5 million in funding was approved for the project in a November 2008 bond package, but it wasn’t until this March that crews started cutting down trees to prepare for the long-awaited project.
Crews will widen Rea from Pineville-Matthews to Colony Road, installing a median and adding sidewalks, bicycle lanes and planting strips to better accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists.      Meanwhile, sight-line improvement will make things safer for through traffic and residents turning on and off Rea. The new turn lane at Pineville-Matthews also should reduce southbound traffic backing up at the intersection.
As soon as crews are done at the intersection, Fakhreddin said their attention will turn to the north. Work first will focus on the stretch of Rea between Pineville-Matthews and Carmel Estates. Crews will add temporary pavement so they can shift traffic as needed back and forth.
That portion of the project likely won’t be done until next summer.
Then crews will focus on the final stretch of road, from Carmel Estates to Colony, which Fakhreddin said won’t be complete until the end of summer 2014.

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