CHARLOTTE, NC (Joe Marusak/The Charlotte Observer) - Drivers in both directions on Interstate 85 will be detoured at the I-85/I-77 interchange in Charlotte late Thursday and early Friday as part of the I-77 toll lanes project.
The detours, which will be in effect from 11 p.m. Thursday to 5 a.m. Friday, are needed to safely create space for upcoming construction, I-77 Mobility Partners announced.
I-77 Mobility Partners is a subsidiary of the project's general contractor, Spain-based Cintra. Toll lanes are being added from the Brookshire Freeway in Charlotte to N.C. 150 in Mooresville.
If you're headed from uptown Charlotte to north Charlotte or Lake Norman at night, a relatively traffic-free way around the nightly toll lanes mess is to take North Graham Street to Statesville Avenue and follow it north, either to I-85 interchanges that intersect with Statesville Avenue or to return to I-77 from roads in north Charlotte and Lake Norman.
Be sure to get into either of the left turn lanes from North Graham that are just past AvidXchange Music Factory on the left and just before the Charlotte Fire Department headquarters, also on your left.
Taking Statesville Avenue going north costs you more time than tooling along a construction-free I-77. The speed limit is often 35 mph or 45 mph, and you'll hit a red light or two or three. But I-77 traffic snarls can have you sitting far longer as the highway narrows to a single lane along stretches to accommodate toll lanes work. The Statesville Avenue route also is more relaxing.
If you decide to stay on I-85 Thursday night, here are the planned detours: