I-77 contract review nears completion, drivers speak out

- For the third time in a matter of months, Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization members came face to face with those against the I-77 toll lane project.

"You guys are the ones who can push NCDOT to do the right thing, you guys are the ones that can ask the questions," said one driver.

Ultimately, any cancelation to the I-77 contract, is up to the North Carolina Transportation Secretary. He will be handed the official review of the I-77 contract, which will include other options, or "policy changes".

The other plans CRTPO members and the state could take include purchasing the express lanes once they are finished.

They could also keep toll lanes, but use different ideas to ease congestion, like adding traffic lights on ramps or paving shoulders.

Congestion is among the biggest complaint for those in Northern Mecklenburg County. They fear a map included in the draft report, will only make traffic worse.

The maps shows no additional "free lanes", like there are closer to Uptown Charlotte.

"We hit maximum highway capacity 12 years ago, and I have 0 intentions of sticking around seeing what 62 years of it looks like," said a 17-year-old driver.

The company reviewing the contract is still encouraging public comment. So far more than 260 have been submitted online.

"We don't want the department to go down a path and then later ask why didn't you look at X, Y and Z," said Jim Taylor from Mercator Advisors.

Public comment can be submitted online through September 9. The final contract review is scheduled to be complete by the end of September.

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