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Misspelled word fixed quickly at I-77 Lake Norman exit, official says

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- Briggs Cook
A subcontractor working 28 hours straight last weekend on the diverging diamond interchange at Interstate 77 Exit 28 in Cornelius misspelled “Only” in a lane leading eastbound on West Catawba Avenue to I-77 South. The word was repainted with the correct spelling on Monday, after rain left the area..

CORNELIUS The diverging diamond interchange that’s under construction at Interstate 77 Lake Norman Exit 28 could seem confusing enough when it opens with new traffic patterns in the months ahead.

Motorists might have been even more confused by the large white word painted in an eastbound lane of West Catawba Avenue that steers them onto I-77 South.

“NOLY,” the word said.

As in “ONLY” be in this lane to get onto I-77 South.

Reader Briggs Cook emailed a photo of the misspelled word to the Observer and other local media. “Tax dollars at work,” Cook quipped in the email.

A subcontractor misspelled the word while working 28 hours straight to get the road open last Saturday night, said Jen Thompson, a spokeswoman for the N.C. Department of Transportation.

“Rain was also moving in,” Thompson said in an email reply to the Observer on Thursday. “We caught the error immediately after it was made, but had to wait for a break in the weather. We painted over the misspelling Monday afternoon and repainted it Monday night.”

The new interchange will allow two directions of traffic to temporarily cross to the left side of the road while on the bridge over I-77.

Once on the left side of the road, vehicles will be able to turn left onto the I-77 ramps without stopping and without conflicting with through traffic, providing easier and safer access to the interstate, highway officials said.

While that might seem confusing, Cornelius town officials who toured the nation’s first diverging diamond interchange in Springfield, Mo., a couple of years ago said traffic flowed smoothly and the interchange wasn’t confusing.

Marusak: 704-358-5067; Twitter: @jmarusak
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