I-485 construction

Courtesy of Matthew Bryant

Eminent domain is one of the most powerful tools of government. It allows state and local governments to force the sale of private land for anything deemed of public use or benefit. In return, however, the state is required to pay just compensation.

North Carolina is one of 13 states that allow its Department of Transportation to effectively control private property that may be turned into a road. This means that just compensation may take years, or in some cases, decades. Part 2 of our series, The State's Domain, examines what's known as the Map Act.

Duncan McFadyen

Area leaders are one step closer to deciding whether to open an extra lane on I-485 in south Charlotte. There’s an extra lane of pavement on both sides of the newly-widened section of I-485 between I-77 and Rea Road. The state Department of Transportation opened the highway in December, nearly two years ahead of schedule. The plan had been to keep those lanes closed until the next section of widening is complete, at least four years from now. But many people have complained that it’s silly not to use the extra lane until then.

Mark Hames / Charlotte Observer

Interstate 485 in south Charlotte is now one lane wider in both directions. But there’s enough new pavement on the highway to open an additional lane on both sides. The North Carolina Department of Transportation says it’s up to a local board to decide whether to open those lanes sooner than was originally planned.  


Interstate-485 will finally become a complete loop next year, and some northern sections will feature unusual interchanges. State and federal transportation officials gave that update Tuesday while standing at the edge of one of the interchanges.

The rain didn't keep Davis Diggs and Gary Eudy from showing off how their babies are almost all grown up.

"We're standing at the border between Gary's project and my interchange," Diggs said. On one side, there's concrete road, and on the other, paved dirt.