NCDOT to make changes to I-77 toll lane work zone

by: Elsa Gillis Updated:

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Brian Solly said he was driving along Interstate 77 last Sunday near Mile Marker 11, where he said old lane markings and new ones are both visible, confusing drivers.

"I don't even want to think about what would've happened if it had gotten worse," he said. "Other traffic was not aware apparently and kind of merged into me. I had nowhere to go except those orange barrels, whacked one. And I got my 10-year-old son at the time with me; he was a nervous wreck."

He and his son were both fine, but his car is beat up.

"I've never seen a construction zone in my entire life of driving that is just this neglected," he said.

"We are in constant communication with the contractor, we're constantly talking about safety," North Carolina Department of Transportation spokeswoman Jen Thompson said.

NCDOT officials announced changes coming to the I-77 express-lane work zone in Mecklenburg and Iredell counties.

Click here for the NCDOT report.

This comes after completing a review of the construction zone after drivers expressed concerns about the dangers of the area.

State traffic engineer Kevin Lacy and work zone traffic control engineer Steve Kite drove through the 26-mile work zone unannounced to observe conditions.

Officials said some of the changes will be put into place within the next week, others within the next month.

"It is a safe work zone, we trust this report," Thompson said.

Cornelius resident Michelle Ferlauto has been organizing a safety summit, set for next week, to address community concerns.

"I'm skeptical as to if they're really going to make a difference and if it's a sincere effort. Construction has been underway for 15 months and we have complained for 15 months about the safety conditions,” she said. “Where have they been this entire time?”

The summit is set for Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Cornelius Town Hall.
Various officials and first responders have been invited to attend, along with any concerned citizens.

DOT officials said they will make the following changes:

  • Removing some signs not required for the current traffic patterns
  • Installing “Begin Work Zone” signs at the project limits
  • Adding signs at on-ramps at major interchanges (I-277, I-85, I-485)
  • Replacing covers on signs that have been torn
  • Installing “Work Zone” plaques on all speed limit signs, which will reinforce to drivers they are still in a work zone
  • Installing raised pavement markings

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