I-77 toll lane construction impacts homeless camps

by: Joe Bruno Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The construction of the Interstate 77 toll lane is not only impacting drivers, but also homeless people who live along the interstate.

The construction has exposed and destroyed a large homeless camp near the I-77 and Interstate 277 interchange just outside of uptown Charlotte.

Channel 9 reporter Joe Bruno walked down to the homeless camp where he spotted tables, tarps, blankets and other objects just thrown around.

"That just sickens me," Mecklenburg County Commissioner Pat Cotham said.

Cotham has been an advocate for the homeless her entire life.

She says the county was not notified of the camp or the construction's potential impact to the homeless.

"I have notified the county, and they were not notified or anything," Cotham said. "That's no way to run the Department of Transportation."

The North Carolina Department of Transportation was notified about a homeless camp in the area six months ago, the department said.

"NCDOT staff was joined by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department to give the campers one week’s notice to move out of this area, as they were trespassing on state right of way," NCDOT spokesperson Jennifer Thompson said. "Signs were posted in the area advising this was state property."

NCDOT staff returned with CMPD and removed visible items, Thompson said.

"Since the clearing for the I-77 project has started in this area, more items have surfaced," Thompson said.

I-77 Mobility Partners did not respond to requests for comment.

It's unclear where the people who were living in the camp are now.

NCDOT says the remaining items will be either turned over to police, recycled or trashed.

Cotham says she is disturbed by the project's impact and will continue to hold all parties accountable. 

Click PLAY to watch Joe Bruno's Facebook Live at the homeless camp

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