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Lower speed limit on 77 may be next bump in the road

Jan. 16. By Dave Vieser. With so much controversy around the I-77 toll lane project, one might have assumed that I-77 Mobility Partners and Cintra would have made every effort to get the project off to a sound start. However “sound” is an issue, along with safety, as crews shifted and narrowed travel lanes between Exits 23 and 28, and erected barriers eliminating the left shoulder in both directions.

“I said at the time to expect the worst imaginable scenario,” said Cornelius Commissioner Dave Gilroy. “There are undoubtedly decent, well-meaning individual professionals at NCDOT, but as an organization, the DOT has proven itself totally incompetent on nearly every single Cornelius-related project they’ve touched in recent years.”

The I-77 noise problems stem from the manner in which the original lane markings in the pavement were removed. Rather than just covering up the markings, crews gouged out the pavement creating a noisy and sometimes shaky ride for motorists.

Drivers frequently find themselves being forced to cross onto the rumble strips on the shoulders which were originally installed to warn drivers if they were drifting to the edge of the roadway.

Officials say they have the situation under control. “The removal and restriping of the old edge white line on the pavement joint has been done within DOT tolerance guidelines,” said Jean Leier, I-77 Mobility spokeswoman. “The surface where the previous white line was located has experienced a texture difference, but remains within these tolerance guidelines.”

A reduction in the speed limit is possible, although what that means in light of congestion could be highly theoretical.  “We are working with DOT on possibly reducing the speed limit in the area which may reduce the noise impacts” Leier added.