I moved to Huntersville in the Fall of '05 and have found the commute to be no problem. I also work close to Uptown and leave around that same time every day.
The widening has helped tremendously, and generally it takes about 20-25 minutes at peak driving times either way from Gilead Rd. to Uptown. The good news is there are a couple options if traffic looks backed up, especially if you are coming north. You can get off at Exit 18 and go behind Northlake Mall. That road is seldom traveled (at least for now) and from it you can get to a road that will allow you to cut through Huntersville Business Park (also no traffic anytime) to Gilead.
The other secret now is that most people try to merge over as soon as they see the "lane ends" sign after exit 18. You can actually stay in the right lane for another mile or so before merging and pass a ton of cars.
I would avoid the temptation of using Statesville as an alternate if at all possible. Especially during school months, it is very slow. Beatties Ford is a better option if you are closer to it in your new home, and it will take you closer to uptown.