Michael Waltrip Racing to host I-77 toll lanes meeting

Michael Waltrip Racing in Cornelius will host a meeting of local business owners and managers Thursday concerning planned Interstate 77 toll lanes from Charlotte to Mooresville.

“This is neither a complaint session nor a protest,” Michael Waltrip Racing said in a statement. “This is a focused discussion by business leaders to develop a workable solution.”

The N.C. Department of Transportation and Spain-based Cintra (I77 Mobility Partners) closed on the financial contract last week that will allow for work to proceed on the lanes.

“Many of our members have questions regarding this project, such as, ‘How will this impact my business?’ ‘What is the time frame for construction?’ and ‘Is there any recourse now for general purpose lanes?’” Bill Russell, president and CEO of the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce, said in announcing Thursday’s I-77 Business Transportation Summit.

The summit will be at 4 p.m. at Michael Waltrip Racing, 20310 Chartwell Center Drive, off West Catawba Avenue just west of I-77 Cornelius Exit 28.

Mecklenburg County commissioner Jim Puckett, R-Huntersville, and State Sen. Jeff Tarte, R-Cornelius, plan to attend the summit, along with others knowledgeable about the contract, Russell said.

Puckett has been an outspoken critic of the planned lanes.

Russell encourages all business owners, managers and CEOs to attend the summit. RSVP directly to Michael Waltrip Racing at I77summit@gmail.com.

Russell also invites those who can’t attend the meeting to discuss the project with him by calling him at 704-892-1922, emailing Russell@lakenorman.org or meeting him in person.

“We respect and appreciate the many voices and opinions of this project,” the N.C. Department of Transportation said in a statement this week.

The project, the state DOT said, “was unanimously approved and requested by the local transportation planning organization. NCDOT is delivering the project that local planners developed, recommended and still support, along with the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, based upon the fact that this project will offer drivers more choices for reliable travel time, and help manage traffic on one of the state’s most congested corridors for people and freight.”

Marusak: 704-358-5067;

Twitter: @jmarusak