Good news, bad news on road improvements

Construction cones will seem like a permanent fixture on Greenville’s most-traveled corridor

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Artist’s rendering of the finished I-85/I-385 interchange, as it should appear in 2019.

Good news: Demolition of the Salters Road bridge started this week.

Bad news: The widened 1-mile stretch of road that city officials say has the potential to keep some traffic off Woodruff Road’s most congested stretch between Roper Mountain Road and Carolina Point Parkway isn’t expected to open until sometime in 2017.

Good news: When the 85-385 Gateway Project, the second-largest project ever attempted by the state Department of Transportation, is complete, 9 miles of alignment-busting Interstate 85 will be repaved, two flyover bridges will help traffic moving from one interstate to the other, and shoppers at the Shops of Greenridge will be able to get on the interstate without having to first get on traffic-choked Woodruff Road.

Bad news: It won’t be complete until 2019.

Good news: Improvements to I-85 and Laurens Road are planned, too, to eliminate the cloverleafs that make it difficult to enter and exit the interstate there when there’s any significant traffic.

Bad news: It probably won’t happen until 2020, according to Jack Valetti, resident construction engineer for the DOT.

Even with the 85-385 Gateway Project and planned improvements including turn lanes on Carolina Point Parkway, Market Point Drive and Garlington and Miller roads and retiming of the traffic signals, traffic problems on Woodruff Road won’t disappear, said Greenville City Councilwoman Gaye Sprague, who is a traffic engineer.

“It goes from F-minus to F-plus,” she said after the Council received the first of several updates on the project during its work session Monday afternoon.

Motorists can go to 85385gateway.com to get more information about the project and find out about lane closures and ramp detours.

“The big picture is that I-85 from Exit 40 to North Carolina will have some sort of construction over the next 10 years,” Valetti said.

For more information on the 85-385 Gateway Project, go to 85385gateway.com.

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