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Mistake by I-77 toll road crew confuses drivers with odd lane stripes

The lanes on Interstate 77 suddenly widen in a construction zone, but should be fixed by Friday. This is a view from the Lakeview Road overpass looking north toward Harris Boulevard.
The lanes on Interstate 77 suddenly widen in a construction zone, but should be fixed by Friday. This is a view from the Lakeview Road overpass looking north toward Harris Boulevard. N.C. Department of Transportation

Constructions zones are challenging enough for drivers. But when the lanes suddenly look like wet spaghetti, watch out.

That’s the problem on part of a two-mile stretch of Interstate 77 North between Sunset Road and W.T. Harris Boulevard in Charlotte.

Striping for one of the lanes suddenly widens then narrows back down, making it unclear where drivers are supposed to be.

Dear I-77, some of your lanes are drunk

Tracie Chan, on Facebook

It’s been a problem since last Saturday morning, N.C. Department of Transportation spokeswoman Jen Thompson said. The contractor for the I-77 toll lane project was supposed to have it fixed by now, but bad weather and cold temperatures have prevented repairs so far.

“We don’t want anyone to feel unsafe,” she said. “We want that fixed immediately.”

Those repairs are now planned for Friday after the morning rush hour, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., although the work probably will be finished before that time, Thompson said. A rolling roadblock will be set up in the area for the work so the interstate will not be completely shut down.

Re-striping is done as lanes are realigned during the project to add express lanes on I-77. The prime contractor is Sugar Creek Construction, and it is responsible for ensuring the lanes are fixed, Thompson said.

For now, drivers are left to proceed cautiously in the area.

Charlotte resident Tracie Chan drives that route on her way to work in the Lake Norman area. She called the lanes dangerous and confusing, especially the first time she encountered them.

Or, as she put it on Facebook: “Dear I-77, some of your lanes are drunk — it is literally a free-for-all out there in places!”

Adam Bell: 704-358-5696, @abell

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