One of Charlotte's busiest highways to get smoother surface, better markings

One of Charlotte's busiest highways to get smoother surface, better markings

CHARLOTTE, NC (Steve Harrison/Charlotte Observer) - Interstate 77 in south Charlotte will soon be resurfaced, and the N.C. Department of Transportation also plans to improve pavement markings and painted lane lines.

The DOT recently awarded a $12.8 million contract to improve five miles of I-77 from Tyvola Road to Morehead Street. Last year, the state resurfaced and improved I-77 from the South Carolina state line to Tyvola Road. Work could start as early as June 25, and it's expected to be finished by September 2019.

I-77 carries 166,000 vehicles a day south of uptown. The busiest section of I-77 is north of uptown at LaSalle Street, where 181,000 vehicles pass daily.

The project also includes improvements to the I-77 northbound and southbound bridges at West Boulevard, and the off-ramp bridge exiting I-77 South to West Boulevard.

The state will paint the bridges and a new concrete deck for a smoother ride on all three bridges.

The contract does not include new lighting for the highway, which is often dark due to burned-out or broken lights.

Jen Thompson, a spokesperson for the DOT, said the state is working to install new LED lights on many roadways, including I-77. The Charlotte area has roughly 3,300 light fixtures, and the DOT is about halfway through improving those lights. That lighting contract is scheduled to be finished in November.

Eventually, the DOT plans to completely rebuild I-77 from uptown to the S.C. state line. By 2024, the DOT wants to start construction on adding two toll lanes in each direction on I-77, which would tie in with express toll lanes planes for I-77 north and I-485 in south Charlotte.