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Today’s traffic: Wrecks clog John Belk, I-77

One person was injured Thursday morning in a three-vehicle wreck involving a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police car on the John Belk Freeway.

It was among a number of collisions, several of them on northbound Interstate 77 in York and Mecklenburg counties. The most recent wreck had all but one lane of I-77 closed near Tyvola Road at 11:50 a.m. Motorists were being urged to use South Boulevard or South Tryon Street as alternates.

The N.C. Department of Transportation said the wreck involved a fuel spill, and that it could be after 1:30 p.m. before all lanes are reopened.

The John Belk Freeway collision was on the inner loop of the highway, between the College Street ramp and Interstate 77.

Authorities closed all lanes on the inner loop after the 10 a.m. wreck. At 11:20 a.m., only one of three lanes was open. Traffic was backed up onto inbound East Independence Boulevard, and motorists should consider using the Brookshire Freeway to reach uptown of Interstate 77

The collision sent all three vehicles – two SUV’s and the police patrol car – into the right-side retaining wall. One person reportedly was trapped but freed quickly.

Medic reported taking one person to Carolinas Medical Center with injuries described as non-life-threatening.

The wreck came after a morning loaded with traffic problems across the Charlotte area. Some examples:

– Several wrecks on the northbound side of Interstate 77. One collision was near S.C. 160 in northern York County, with the others in Charlotte near Tyvola Road, Clanton Road and the John Belk Freeway. At last check (11:50 a.m.), traffic was moving about 5 to 10 mph from near Carowinds up to the Tyvola Road wreck scene.

– Collisions at two of the city’s college campuses. One wreck was on East Third Street at CPCC’s Central Campus, the other on Beatties Ford Road at the entrance to Johnson C. Smith University. No injuries were reported.

– Surrounding counties weren’t immune to the problem. Wrecks with injuries were reported on Celanese Road at Twin Lakes Road in Rock Hill, and on Potter Road near N.C. 75 in the Union County town of Mineral Springs.

Uptown alert: Motorists in Charlotte’s uptown can expect extra congestion and pedestrian traffic this morning, especially near Time Warner Cable Arena.

That’s because the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will hold the Employee Back-to-School Rally at the arena until about 12:30 p.m. Upwards of 15,000 employees are expected to attend the event, and that will bring plenty of extra traffic into the area.

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