• NCDOT may convert shoulder into traffic lane on busy portion of I-77

    By: Tina Terry

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Drivers could be encouraged to drive on the shoulder to get around traffic on a busy portion of Interstate 77. 

    The I-77 local advisory group, NCDOT and the North Carolina transportation secretary crafted a plan that would convert the shoulder of I-77 into a new lane, which would be used during heavy traffic times from Huntersville to Mooresville.

    "I think it's going to ease congestion, yes,” said driver Aaron Brown.

    Officials said 11 different locations are being evaluated for the new lane.

    [ALSO READ: Local lawmakers unveil new bill to give drivers relief from I-77 toll lanes]

    The Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization, which has to sign off on the project, recently challenged it with a list of more than two dozen questions.

    In part, CRTPO asked if the idea would interfere with emergency vehicles.

    The organization questioned if approval of the project gives the perception that there are problems with express lanes.

    Jim Puckett, who is with the I-77 advisory group, found the question insulting to transportation officials.

    “NCDOT knows what they’re doing. They’ve done this before,” he said.

    He said citizens have already expressed discontent with the toll lanes project, and he said research proves the toll lanes won’t alleviate traffic congestion.

    "Most of those questions have been answered time and time again,” Puckett said.   

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