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Bridging The Divide: How Charlotte Plans To Connect Uptown To Growth

Cross Charlotte Trail Bridge Concept 2 Rendering
Rendering of XCLT Trail Bridge Concept 2

Walkability and connectivity are more than just buzzwords to get the attention of Charlotte’s city officials and decision-makers: They describe the lifestyle people want to live today. But for residents in the Belmont, NoDa, Optimist Park and Villa Heights neighborhoods, there is no safe way to walk or bike to Uptown without having to cross over major roads.

The city’s recent proposal to build a 550-foot pedestrian and bicycle bridge that will connect Uptown to these communities may provide the connection these residents want. The bridge will be constructed over the U.S. Highway 74 and Interstate 277 interchange and be part of the 30-mile Cross Charlotte Trail (XCLT) from Seventh to 10th streets.

The sites just before and after the bridge will become available for commercial development.

“The city has begun actively working with developers who are looking to build along the trail route,” Charlotte Center City Partners Planning Development Associate Klint Mullis said.

“There’s quite a bit of activity and potential right there at the intersection of 10th Street and Seigle Avenue. There’s a handful of projects already under construction or announced and in the permitting process right around that intersection,” Mullis said.

Charlotte’s city manager submitted an application this week for a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation through the 2017 Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery program for infrastructure projects.

The proposed bridge has a $16.7M price tag: $1.9M in planning and design, $12.5M in construction costs and $2.3M in project contingency. The grant application predicts an average of 4.2 million bridge users per year over the first 20 years of its life, City of Charlotte XCLT Implementation Manager Joe Frey said.

The city will know by early next year if the funds will be granted. Frey expects construction to begin in 2020 and be complete in 2022.

CORRECTION, Oct. 18, 4:25 p.m. ET: An earlier version of this story had an incorrect figure for the length of the bridge. It has been updated.