Jennifer Sisak, a project manager with Ratio Architects told the Cornelius Town Board that the diverging diamond interchange at Exit 28 is being designed to compliment eight lanes of traffic underneath.
Sisak said the North Carolina Department of Transportation released a concept drawing for eight lanes under the bridge at Exit 28, “and that’s what the state is telling us they are pursuing.”
The projects are completely independent, but the bridge at exit 28 must be designed to accommodate whatever plans the NCDOT has for that section of Interstate 77.
“I guess that’s the inevitable logic and its unfortunate,” Said Commissioner Dave Gilroy. “because we may not have eight lanes out there for a long time.”
Assistant town manager Andrew Grant said Cornelius will carry on with the design of the project as if the interstate will eventually become eight lanes wide.
“We can certainly make the assumption that the DOT will do this,” Grant said. “Since it’s a design build project, we are really making our best-estimated guesses as to what DOT would design and implement out there.”
Sisak said Ratio is coordinating all the detail that will go into the Diverging Diamond Interchange with NCDOT.
“We are not currently clear when exactly they are going to go out for design-build on the widening of the interstate,” Sisak said. “That being said, we have to work with that understanding, because we certainly don’t want you to have beautifications that are provided in the DDI project that then get impacted when this road is widened.”
Sisak assured the board, that whether or not I-77 gets widened to eight lanes, the bridge at Exit 28 will remain.
Ratio is expected to have the construction documents for the bridge submitted to the NCDOT by March 29.
Sisak said at that point, the NCDOT will take 3-4 weeks to approve those documents and give feedback.
The final project review and approval is scheduled to be completed by April 30 with a tentative bid selection time frame for August.