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Lane closures on I-277 cause massive congestion as crews rehab bridges

The commute into uptown Charlotte is extra frustrating this week for many drivers.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation has reduced traffic to one lane on a section of Interstate 277 as crews repair bridges on the inner loop over Third, Stonewall and McDowell streets.

The latest phase of construction, which began last Friday, is expected to wrap up in time for the NBA All-Star weekend Feb. 15-17, according to NCDOT.

The lane closures have caused heavy congestion along most of the beltway, a major artery that’s seen bumper-to-bumper traffic this week during rush hour as commuters head into uptown. The closures have also clogged smaller streets as drivers seek alternate routes to avoid I-277.

“We encourage drivers to leave extra time for their commute,” NCDOT Charlotte-based spokeswoman Jen Thompson said in an email.

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Traffic files past I-277 bridge construction over 4th and 3rd Streets via a single lane. The North Carolina Department of Transportation has reduced traffic to one lane on the Interstate 277 loop as crews work on bridges on the inner loop over Third, Stonewall and McDowell streets. The lane closures on Interstate 277 are part of a $16.3 million project to rehab 22 bridges in the I-277 corridor. The project is expected to wrap up in July. Traffic moved slowly on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019. John D. Simmons jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com

The barriers on I-277 will be in place 24/7 so workers can perform concrete pavement repairs and place epoxy overlays on the bridge decks, NCDOT said in a statement.

The lane closures are part of a $16.3 million project to rehab 22 bridges in the I-277 corridor between 10th Street and I-77 at the John Belk Freeway. Last month, NCDOT reduced traffic to one lane on the inner loop as crews rehabbed bridges over Elizabeth Avenue, Third Street and Fourth Street.

“The traffic pattern is not ... ideal, but it’s the safest way for the workers to do the work they need to do,” Thompson said.

NCDOT has said that the improvements are intended to create “a better riding surface for drivers.”

The whole I-277 project is expected to wrap up in July 2019, according to NCDOT.

As the retail and sports business reporter for the Observer, Katie Peralta covers everything from grocery-store competition in Charlotte to tax breaks for pro sports teams. She is a Chicago native and graduate of the University of Notre Dame.
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