The extra I-485 lane nobody can use

outer belt lanes charlotte 485

The Story

When the DOT recently widened I-485 in South Charlotte to three lanes, it laid a fourth lane — but opted not to open it, even through congestion is still awful.


Because one day, it may want to make that lane a toll lane. And federal rules make it hard to convert a free lane into a toll lane, which the state hopes to do in maybe 5 years.


Yeah, that’s what a lot of you said, but not as nicely.

“Another NC government disaster. Can you guys please raise our taxes again and pay yourselves more, since you do such a great job?” – commenter

“All part of Pat McCrony’s plan to toll the heck out of the citizens of this state. This Republican will not support his re-election.” – commenter –

– “The NC taxpayers bought and paid for this lane. What right does DOT have to keep us from using it???” – Comment on Facebook

C5’s Take

We agree, this one is a head scratcher. One thought is to make it a carpool lane, which can be converted under federal rules into a toll road. As has been noted: While carpool lanes aren’t terribly popular, it’s better than not using a perfectly good lane.

Photo: Mark Hames / Charlotte Observer


  1. would anyone else be game for flooding politicians and DOT inboxes and getting media involved regarding the ridiculousness of this lane sitting empty while taxpayers sit in bumper to bumper traffic each day? Seems like the people in N Charlotte got some attention and possibly results with their organized approach!


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