Just when you thought the reasons (read: excuses) for the now over 18 months of delays in the completion of 5.5 miles of Interstate 485 comes two new details that couldn't come from a Hollywood Soap Opera.
Let's start with a story that broke this past Tuesday - A lack of traffic signals will keep I-485 closed prior to Thanksgiving. (Now you see why they said December 31st just a month ago.) yes, missing traffic signals at the W.T. Harris Blvd. (which we recently learned is now NC 24) Interchange will keep the road closed before Thanksgiving. (Those that will be stuck on I-77 in Huntersville on the day before Thanksgiving salute you.)
So how is this possible? NCDOT doesn't even know. They only applied for the permits last week, and Charlotte's DOT can't move that fast. So Skanska, the beleaguered contractor, offered to put up temporary poles and traffic signals. NCDOT summoned Lee Corso and said, "Not, so fast my friend." They want the permanent signals and poles in - a process that could take two weeks. (dramatic pause) If, all goes well.
So on Wednesday, Skanska publically apologize for the delays. (Just this one, not the prior 19 months.) And said they were trying to get everything done by the Monday after Thanksgiving.
But on Thursday, Lee Corso came back to Charlotte (No, he wasn't interviewing for the UNC-Charlotte football job...although 49er football will begin before I-485 is completed - that's another post.) and again said, "Not so fast, my friend."
It seems that while digging a hole for the traffic light poles, a contractor punched a hole in a 16" water main. Yes, while digging a hole for the traffic light poles, a contractor punched a hole in a 16" water main. (repeated for emphasis) Fortunately, the repairs were made...and the water main break may only add another day to the delays...but after nearly 20 months...who's counting.
WCNC-TV - I-485 Stretch won't open by Thanksgiving
WCNC-TV - I-485 contractor appologizes for delay
WCNC-TV - Water main break could further delay 485
I think the story speaks for itself.