CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The video from above showed a quagmire on Interstate 77 near the Brookshire Freeway in Charlotte on Tuesday night. Quick, heavy showers flooded the construction zone, covering multiple lanes and forcing drivers to bottleneck into one lane to snake past the swirling brown water.
"We've had a lot of issues around safety concerns in the whole construction zone," said NC Senator Jeff Tarte (R-Mecklenburg). "There have been a number of issues we've been trying to cover with NCDOT. Last night, looking at the flooding, I've lived here 26 years, my kids actually went to elementary school at Lincoln Heights, so I'm very familiar with this corridor, and we've never seen flooding like this."
Tarte said he was in contact with NCDOT both on Tuesday night and again early on Wednesday to learn what the state plans to do to make sure such flooding doesn't happen again.
The construction zone is operated by I-77 Mobility Partners through the state contract to build toll lanes.
"They are well aware of the situation," Tarte added. "They're looking to try and determine what is the cause. We recognize, are confident, that it's due to the construction site issues."
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.
Jen Thompson from NCDOT said that the contractor has been instructed to remove trash and debris from the erosion control devices. She said DOT inspectors determined that to be what caused the water level to rise and flood the travel lanes.
Openings in barriers that were blocked also must be cleaned, according to Thompson.
"What I'm really concerned about is to make sure that this doesn't occur after the construction is complete," Tarte said. "That we don't have proper grading or leveling and run-off structures around the highway. Interstates shouldn't flood."