DOT says no penalties anticipated after construction zone flooding

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A spokesperson for the North Carolina Department of Transportation said no penalties are anticipated for the companies responsible for a construction zone that flooded Tuesday afternoon.

Hundreds of drivers drove in and around floodwaters that covered part of I-77 near Brookshire Boulevard Tuesday evening. Heavy rains caused water to build up on the interstate.

"You couldn't go anywhere but straight on through the mud hole and then you had to pray you were gonna be in the right lane when you come out on the other side," said Huntersville resident Kathy Jones.

Jones said all the lanes were covered by water when she drove through the construction zone. She said she commutes from Ballantyne for work so driving along I-77 is a regular experience. Tuesday was a little more treacherous.

"Lord let me stay in the lines! That's what I was thinking. Please lord let me stay in the lines," recounted Jones in an interview Tuesday night.

She drives an SUV and was worried about passing through the floodwaters. Many drivers were forced to take sedans through the flooded construction zone.

"The lower cars, like I said, the water was so deep it was coming up over their tires," described Jones.

Other drivers sent WBTV pictures of the construction zone as well.

Interstate 77 Mobility Partners released the following statement through a spokesperson Tuesday night.

The Charlotte area received a significant amount of rain in a short period of time this evening. I-77 Mobility Partners operations and maintenance personnel and Sugar Creek Construction responded as quickly as possible to the area to assist highway patrol and any motorists in need. We will continue to provide service on I-77 from Uptown Charlotte to Mooresville as we currently do.

Jones hopes she doesn't have to encounter a similar situation.

"A safety crew or somebody needs to go out there and see the conditions and try and do something to prevent that next time," said the Huntersville resident.

Jen Thompson, a communications officer with the NCDOT, reminds drivers to slow down, increase their following distance and remain alert when driving during periods of inclement weather.

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