$100 Million in Federal Grant Funding Set Aside to Improve I-85 Corridor Near Charlotte
In many European countries, citizens can live comfortably without cars, relying solely on public transportation to get from Point A to Point B. This isn’t the case in most of the United States.
Infrastructure in the US is designed to accommodate car owners. It’s not necessarily designed for pedestrian safety. Our country’s reliance on cars, combined with a lack of pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, can result in a high rate of accidents.
Improvements can theoretically be made to address these issues. Here in North Carolina, $100 million in federal grant funding has recently been set aside to make such improvements along the I-85 corridor between Charlotte and the South Carolina state line.
How $100 Million in Federal Grant Funding Will Improve I-85 Corridor in North Carolina
Currently, plans for usage of the allocated funds include:
- Widening an approximately 10-mile stretch of I-85 in Gaston County from six lanes to eight lanes;
- Installing new connections for bicycles and pedestrians along the same stretch of I-85;
- Facilitating the installation of broadband infrastructure;
- Facilitating the installation of electric vehicle charging stations.
Benefits these improvements are anticipated to yield include:
- Relieving congestion along I-85, which can potentially boost traffic efficiency and guard against accidents;
- Establishing safer connections between urban and rural parts of North Carolina.
Transportation Secretary Eric Boyette also hopes the improvements will deliver economic advantages. By reducing congestion, these improvements have the potential to strengthen supply chains.
Governor Roy Cooper also commented on the plans, saying “Strengthening infrastructure and making transportation safe, clean, and more resilient will build a stronger North Carolina. These funds will deliver critical transportation improvements, better connect our people to high-speed internet and move our state forward on clean transportation.”
Infrastructure Improvements Aren’t Substitutes for Safe Driving, Walking, & Biking
Until these improvements are actually made and their impacts can be studied, it remains unclear precisely how significant their effects on car and pedestrian accident rates will be. However, it’s important for those who drive, walk, and ride bicycles in these parts of North Carolina to remember that infrastructure improvements can boost their safety, but cannot replace exercising caution and making wise choices on the road.
This is particularly important to remember in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Research indicates that accident rates throughout the country have increased as a result of the pandemic, potentially because drivers grew more comfortable taking risks behind the wheel when fewer people were driving on major highways. Although traffic conditions have returned to normal, it appears motorists’ driving habits have not. Specifically, data indicates accidents resulting from speeding, driving while intoxicated, and driving while distracted have been on the rise since 2020.
That said, you can only control the choices you make as a motorist, bicyclist, or pedestrian. You can’t necessarily control the decisions of others.
It’s possible you’ll be injured in an accident on one of North Carolina’s roads as a result of someone else’s negligence one day. Perhaps this has already happened.
If so, you may be eligible to recover financial compensation for your medical bills and other such losses resulting from your accident. Learn more about your options by discussing your case with a Charlotte car and pedestrian accident attorney at Brown Moore & Associates, PLLC. Get started by contacting us online or calling us at 704-335-1500.