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Cornelius News

I-77 paving drove confusion, anger Sunday

Dec. 16. By Dave Vieser. UPDATE Dec. 17 10 am. Paving on northbound I-77  forced countless motorists on a confusing detour onto the toll lanes Sunday. The forced merger/detour affected motorists of all sorts, but Panthers fans were outspoken on Facebook.

They took to social media expressing anger about the manner in which the paving and its associated detour was allowed to occur on a Panther home game day when traffic on the interstate is always heavier.

“We experienced this disaster!” said Cornelius Commissioner Michael Militch on facebook. “I better not get sent a toll! I’ll argue the contract stated that both GP lanes were to be kept open during daylight hours. Totally confusing!”

Apparently northbound traffic between exits 21 and 22 was diverted to the toll lanes for paving in the GP lanes. At the end of the diversion, motorists claim there was very little notice that all traffic was diverted back to the general purpose lanes. “Cars were slamming on brakes, coming to a full stop and having to merge back into the GP lanes from a dead stop. All with post-Panthers game traffic,” said Cornelius resident Rick Monroe.

Cintra faces daily fines for not finishing the toll lanes on time and that includes paving, which may explain why they were paving on a Sunday afternoon.

Sugar Creek Construction/Ferrovial/Cintra responded Monday night:

Sugar Creek Construction has been performing approved day work for several weeks in an effort to pave while temperatures permit.  Advance notice was given via detour signs/message boards to drivers specifically near Exit 19 which provided a mile and a half advance warning with another placed ½ mile before the exit signaling to either continue on the Express Lanes or to exit to northbound I-77. Additionally a media release and an e-alert were sent out in advance of the work to subscribers.  For more information please visit  https://www.i77express.com/newsroom/press-releases/.