Politics & Government

N.C. DOT to review safety of I-77 after rash of crashes

I-77 toll lane construction ramps up near uptown

Construction is underway way near near uptown between the I-85/I-77 and I-277-Brookshire Freeway/I-77 interchanges all part of the I-77 toll lanes project.
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Construction is underway way near near uptown between the I-85/I-77 and I-277-Brookshire Freeway/I-77 interchanges all part of the I-77 toll lanes project.

The N.C. Department of Transportation said Wednesday it will send a traffic safety specialist to study Interstate 77 in north Mecklenburg, which is a work zone because of toll lane construction.

DOT said it could make changes to the highway, including lowering the speed limit.

The state acted after WSOC reported that crashes on I-77 in the work zone increased by 400 in 2016, compared with the same period a year earlier.

DOT said its analysis shows the types of crashes reported have been less severe. The state said the most common crashes are rear-end collisions and sideswipes. The state said that’s typical for a work zone.

DOT asked drivers Wednesday to be alert and to put down their cellphones.

“It takes engineering, enforcement and education to make a work zone safe, but the most important work zone safety feature is the driver behind the wheel,” state traffic engineer Kevin Lacy said in a news release.

DOT and I-77 Mobility Partners, a private firm, are building two express lanes in each direction between uptown and Exit 28 in Cornelius. Between Exit 28 and Exit 36 in Mooresville there will be one express lane added in each direction.

Steve Harrison: 704-358-5160, @Sharrison_Obs

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