• Ramp closure causes lengthy delays along I-277 inner loop

    By: Mark Taylor


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - As you head to work in the morning, you’ll notice even more traffic than usual along the Interstate 227 inner loop.

    One lane on the ramp from Independence Boulevard to the inner loop will be blocked for most of the month.

    [NCDOT: I-77 toll lanes will not be completed by January deadline]

    It's part of a $16.3 million project to improve 22 bridges along the John Belk Freeway. Crews are working on the 3rd Street, 4th Street and Elizabeth Avenue bridges, forcing the lane closure. 

    On Tuesday morning, the closure caused miles of backups beginning around Idlewild Road all the way into Uptown. It also caused traffic headaches on the Brookshire Highway from Interstate 85 through Independence Boulevard and the freeway section.

    [RELATED: Nearly 1,800 crashes reported in I-77 construction zone since work began]

    After Traffic Team 9’s Mark Taylor questioned the North Carolina Department of Transportation, he found out that construction must be conducted around-the-clock due to safety concerns and the scope of the project.

    “I try to avoid it at all costs," resident Grant Newhouse said. "I had some co-workers that were 30 minutes late to work. It’s already a nightmare, so I assumed this would make things worse.”  

    [RELATED: 9 Investigates: I-77 toll lane reported issues increased by hundreds since 2015]

    The construction on Independence to Interstate 277 is scheduled to continue until Dec. 21.

    "The holiday restrictions start on the 22nd, so if they're not done by then they can't do any more work until after New Year's," NCDOT spokesperson Jen Thompson said. 

    This is not the only bridge closing causing traffic frustration. Crews have already completed five ramps along Interstate 77. There are 14 additional bridges in Charlotte that need improvement in the months ahead.

    Improvements include painting beams and concrete repairs to each of the 22 bridges that are expected to be completed by July 2019.

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