CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46) - FOX 46 Charlotte is continuing to get results for drivers on Interstate-77. The NCDOT has been placing orange barrels to keep drivers out of the construction zones.
FOX 46 Charlotte first showed residents on Wednesday how drivers were crossing the yellow line and driving in a lane not meant for traffic. The NCDOT thanked the station for bringing the problem to their attention. On Friday, FOX 46 Charlotte found new barrels keeping the traffic out of the lane. Permanent barriers could still be added.
Now, even more frustrated drivers are reaching out to FOX 46 Charlotte. One viewer writing, “We are all afraid on 77 in our entire area and I am so fed up. Unsafe should not even be an issue for us and it is.”
Another viewer said, “All of I-77 is a death trap.”
And finally another viewer asked the station to look into the difference between construction zones on Interstate-77 and Interstate-85, stating “While driving on I-85 this morning around Kannapolis the difference were stark.”
FOX 46 Charlotte picked up two steel pavement marks Friday afternoon around Exit 28 – and those were just the ones the station could get to. But these kinds of issues haven’t come up on I-85 where they’re widening the interstate.
About five to ten pounds of steel can be found sitting along the concrete barrier on I-77 at the 25 mile marker in Huntersville, just waiting for a vehicle to hit it.
Nick Brown, a Charlotte H.E.R.O (Highway Emergency Response Operator), said he helps stranded drivers and collects road hazards like the pavement markers.
“Any car that's two inches off the edge of the pavement as they're merging onto the highway, they're still going to hit that. The risk of that getting thrown back onto the road is pretty significant. That’s probably the hole that it came from. You can see, it's still a pretty significant problem here on the highway,” Brown explained.
A problem FOX 46 Charlotte was told ended up puncturing the tire of a North Carolina Senator who lives off Exit 28.
"I’ve lived here 25 years. It’s never been worse. It’s the way they're handling the construction. I got to believe - I worked with NCDOT for years since I was the mayor…we never had a construction project that's so poorly run in keeping the roads clean from debris and material, lines marked so it's safe," Senator Jeff Tarte - (R) District 41 said.
Senator Tarte isn’t the only one who thinks that I-77 is less safe than other DOT projects.
“On I-85 the lanes were completely repaved to eliminate any ruts. The speed limit is reduced to 60 MPH through the entire zone, and there are clearly marked and frequent places where vehicles can pull over in an emergency,” Anne Zirkle posted on a Facebook page, comparing 77 and 85 roadwork.
“The jersey barriers go for such a long stretch if you have a flat tire or fender-bender you have no place to pull off. It’s completely unsafe. Then you look at the accidents occurring just because of the debris. NCDOT never ran projects like that,” Senator Tarte said.
FOX 46 Charlotte sent that Facebook post comparing I-77 to 85 to The Sugar Creek Construction Company. The station plans to follow up with them for a statement.