NCDOT says I-77 pavement marker removal plan days away - | WBTV Charlotte

NCDOT says I-77 pavement marker removal plan days away

(Ben Williamson | WBTV) (Ben Williamson | WBTV)
(Ben Williamson | WBTV) (Ben Williamson | WBTV)

The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) says a detailed action plan to remove old pavement markers from I-77 should be released in the next few days.

The announcement comes a week after safety concerns were brought up at a meeting in Cornelius about the pavement markers popping out of the ground and lying in the roadway.

Reports of damage caused by the markers include windshield damage, puncturing the bottom of cars, and dented doors.

RELATED: NCDOT works to clean up debris along I-77 construction zone

“I heard a loud noise, looked in my rear-view mirror and saw an object fly up and go right through a person’s windshield that was behind me,” said Chris Dooley, a driver that hit a pavement marker. “I looked at the damage and I was shocked at what I saw.”

The pavement marker had gone through the windshield of a truck behind Dooley, narrowly missing the teenage driver.

“I was surprised that he could keep control of the vehicle. It went right through the vehicle's windshield. A piece of it broke off and went right through his armrest,” said Dooley.

Hundreds of markers remain cemented in the road north of Cornelius near Mooresville.

“I tend to avoid 77 and that area now. We just went back up to the DC area for Easter and I did not even try to go on 77,” said Dooley.

Last week, NCDOT said they were not aware of the problem until the meeting in Cornelius. They said the department would work to get it fixed. However, they pointed out that the contractor, Sugar Creek Construction, is liable.

If you do want to file a claim, you can call Sugar Creek Construction at 980-337-2399. You can also fill out a form on the NCDOT website here.

Until the markers are removed, drivers remain on edge.

As Dooley said, "Those things can cause someone to get in a bad accident or even kill someone.”

The continuing safety hazards on I-77 became the topic of discussion on the floor of the North Carolina Senate on Wednesday afternoon.

Senator Jeff Tarte (R-Mecklenburg) addressed the Senate about the ongoing problems.

“I don’t know if you – anyone knows what this is but this is a lane marker that appears on the interstate,” Tarte said while holding up a loose lane marker. “We have a 26-mile section that’s under construction. There are over 100 of these that continue to be found and left. The last 2 were found in the windshield of an automobile. The next one was found in the undercarriage which totaled a BMW.”

Tarte said the construction company building the toll lanes was not qualified to be performing the work. He also said the ongoing safety problems should be cause to cancel the contract to build the lanes.

Tarte said that NCDOT has told him it has no control over the quality of the work being performed by the construction company.

“That 7-mile stretch now has more accidents occurring than the rest of the state combined. This is a problem. We have a problem with this contractor. It’s supposedly outside of NCDOT’s control and they have control of this road for the next 50 years. So be careful when you’re on 77,” Tarte said.

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