NCDOT respond to increase in crashes along I-77 Project Zone - | WBTV Charlotte

NCDOT respond to increase in crashes along I-77 Project Zone

(Source: WBTV/File) (Source: WBTV/File)

Thursday night in Cornelius, city leaders from across North Mecklenburg will meet to discuss concern over increase in traffic crashes along the I-77 toll lane project zone.

“Of course we do not want to see this happening," said Jen Thompson with the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

Numbers released to WBTV show a sharp increase in crashes along the project zone. NCDOT reports an increase of more than 400 crashes in 2016 compared to the 3 years prior. Sideswipe crashes, rear-end crashes, and fixed object crashes all saw an increase in the entire project area.

The number of crashes in the active working zone of the project is even more drastic. Sideswipe crashes were up 83% and fixed object crashes were up 62%.

“We will send someone out from our Raleigh safety unit to come look through the corridor, do an assessment and see if any improvements can be made,” said Thompson.

NCDOT already evaluated the corridor but will bring someone back in to see if any safety measures can be taken.

Thompson is quick to point out that crashes in construction zones are common and that crash data shows that the types of crashes reported have been less severe and less likely to result in serious injury or death.

They are low impact because again folks are generally compressed in together so there is not much room between vehicles so there is not much reaction time,” said Thompson.

There are many that want changes to be made.

“Maybe we lower the speed limit, maybe we re-paint the lines more clearly, maybe we pave over the lanes properly,” said Kurt Naas with the Widen 77 Project.

“What I hope I do not hear is that we will continue to monitor this. What I hope we do is make the corridor safer.”

City leaders and community members will discuss safety measures Thursday night at a meeting in Cornelius. WBTV has learned several NCDOT members will be in attendance.

“At the facility I work at, we have a lot of customer interaction and we hear that people are late because of the accidents or miss appointments because of the accidents,” said one woman that works in Huntersville.

When WBTV showed her the data she said she was not surprised. 

“I avoid 77 at all costs," she said.  

NCDOT also says a review of the individual crash reports since the construction began reveals that many of the crashes involve a vehicle running off the roadway to avoid stopped traffic ahead.

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