A three-vehicle crash injured three people Thursday morning on southbound Interstate 85 in west Charlotte, but a deer on the John Belk Freeway has caused plenty of traffic problems also.
Two tractor-trailers and a car were involved in the I-85 collision, which happened about 7 a.m. near the Freedom Drive exit. It closed all but the left lane on the southbound side, and traffic was backed up 4 to 5 miles -- to near Graham Street -- at one point. Troopers were able to reopen the travel lanes shortly after 7:45 a.m.
Medic reports three people were taken to Carolinas Medical Center -- one with life-threatening injuries, and two with less-serious injuries.
Then about 8:10 a.m., a car struck a deer that was on the inner loop of the John Belk Freeway, near the NASCAR Hall of Fame exit in Charlotte’s uptown. According to reports from some motorists, the deer was not killed in the impact and was walking or running along the side of the freeway.
Police shut down the inner loop for about 30 minutes until the deer was cleared off the road.
But traffic is badly snarled on inbound Independence Boulevard and on eastbound Brookshire Freeway, approachying the John Belk Freeway. Those traffic problems likely will continue until about 9:15 a.m.
Here is the full traffic report at 8:45 a.m.:
-- John Belk Freeway inner loop ... Travel lanes are open again, after the deer incident. Traffic flow improving.
-- Independence Boulevard inbound ... The deer incident on the John Belk Freeway has snarled traffic back to Briar Creek Road. Motorists can consider exiting at Eastway Drive and taking Monroe Road. Traffic should begin moving again by 8:50 or 9 a.m.
-- I-485 inner loop, south Mecklenburg ... Typical heavy congtestion, slowing traffic to 15 mph from Providence Road to South Boulevard.
-- I-85 southbound, Cabarrus County ... Heavy congestion slowing traffic to 20 mph from N.C. 73 to I-485.
-- I-77 southbound, Lake Norman area ... Typical heavy congestion slowing traffic to 15 or 20 mph from the lake down to I-485.
-- I-77 northbound, south Charlotte ... Heavy congestion slowing traffic to 20 mph from Carowinds up to Tyvola Road.
-- University City Boulevard at North Tryon Street ... A collision is slowing inbound traffic on both routes.