Birds-eye view of one of four concept designs for the I-85 North Bridge.

Gateway to the City

City of Charlotte
Jun 12, 2017 · 3 min read

How do you know you have arrived in Charlotte? If you are driving down I-85, there are no welcoming landmarks signifying entrance to the Queen City, but with some input from the public, that will change.

The City of Charlotte is in the planning phase for the I-85 North Bridge, a proposed new street crossing I-85 north of W.T. Harris Boulevard, which will connect Research Drive to J.W. Clay Boulevard. A key component of this project will be the construction of a signature bridge, creating a gateway to the city. Project managers are seeking input from the public on preferred design concepts.

“We will strive to incorporate the most popular features into the final design as the budget permits,” says Project Manager Dan Leaver. “The design will be one of the first things drivers see when they enter Charlotte, so we want to make sure it represents the community.”

Each of the four concepts presented include two travel lanes, sidewalks, streets lighting and a two-way cycle track separated from traffic. A roundabout is proposed near the Sam’s Club and Oasis Shriner’s Club to help calm increased traffic in the area, and additional street improvements for all modes of traffic will be made along Research Drive and David Taylor Drive.

This project is about much more than aesthetics. The project will provide an alternative route to both W.T. Harris Boulevard and Mallard Creek Church Road. In addition, the bridge will create a direct connection between University Research Park, the future Doby Creek and Barton Creek​ ​ greenways, the J.W. Clay Blue Line Extension station and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Daytime and nighttime simulations of the project from Doug Mayes Place over I-85 to David Taylor Drive, along with aerial simulations of the four proposed concepts.

Leaver was also the project manager for the University Pointe Boulevard Bridge (the I-85 South Bridge) completed in May 2017. It’s the first bridge crossing I-85 with sidewalks and bike lanes and the first project completed with 2014 voter-approved bonds. The University Pointe Bridge now provides east-west connectivity between the University Research Park, the Belgate/IKEA development and the CATS Blue Line Extension. It also included a new secondary access road to both Vance High School and James Martin Middle School.

“Together, these projects are continuing the city’s commitment to improving our transportation network for all types of users of all different abilities — whether on foot, on a bike, in a bus or in a car,” says Leaver.

To view the online meeting and provide feedback now through June 24, visit

To provide your feedback on the design concepts, visit

Visit the project site at

Terms of Service

Government as agreed.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store