Police issue warning to motorcyclists on I-77

Final stretch of I-77 Express now open, motorcyclists warned about dangers on the highway

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (WBTV) - Sergeant Nick Bruining has ridden along some of the uneven portions of I-77, himself.

“There are some uneven lanes as the construction progresses,” he says.

Friday, the Huntersville Police Department put out a warning to motorcyclists, asking them to find a different route away from I-485 onto I-77, and saying the uneven pavement continues north. Officers say they saw five motorcycles crash in a week.

“They’re not quite done paving and the lanes aren’t quite even yet” Bruining says. “But a big thing too is to be prepared for that and look for that, and to reduce speed in those areas.”

Though there is no official cause to the wreck yet , one of those five crashes includes the one that killed a motorcyclist.

“You never really get used to that,” Bruining says.

“It just breaks our heart, and it’s not how it should be,” Catherine Terwilliger says.

Terwilliger is with the Concerned Bikers Association of North Carolina group, which has focused on uneven pavement.

“Road surfacing in general has been an issue,” she says. “It can take our wheels directly out from underneath of us.”

They say many bikers are steering clear of the highway, or hanging up their helmets.

“They’re scared,” she says. “They are definitely scared, and they are riding less. Most of them have already put their bikes away and that’s not typical for this time of year.”

Her group advocates for signage along highways that alert bikers of uneven pavement, and focuses on education. Those interested can contact info@charlottecba.org.

Huntersville Police also offers a class through Bike Safe NC. Riders can register at bikesafenc.com.

Mobility Partners, an arm of the company Cintra, is in charge of the I-77 express lane project. As of November 1, it has been overdue and losing money every day the project is not done. That includes days that the express lanes are open, but crews are still working. At $30,000 per day, the company has lost about $540,000 as of November 18.

Copyright 2019 WBTV. All rights reserved.