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Cornelius News

At least it’s not gridlock

May 12. It looks like it was near gridlock at times this morning on West Catawba as repairs to a sign on I-77 apparently snarled traffic from I-485 all the way north to Langtree Road/Exit 31. Congestion is so bad that motorists have diverted to other routes causing much heavier traffic on Catawba Avenue through Cornelius.

Cornelius Police are asking drivers to be patient and alert. “If emergency vehicles come by, please move over,” spokeswoman Betsy Shores said.

Two of three lanes remain closed on I-77 North past Exit 31 in Iredell County while crews remove a portion of the sign structure damaged from an accident earlier today. The damage created a safety hazard to drivers and must be removed before opening the lanes to traffic.

NCDOT has been coordinating with contractors with projects on alternate routes to remove any lane closures, including U.S. 21 and N.C. 115, which also have heavy congestion. Backups on I-77 stretch to at least Exit 19 (I-485) and drivers are encouraged to avoid this area if possible.

Overhead message signs on I-77, I-85 and I-485 are being used to alert motorists to the closures and to seek alternate routes. Crews anticipate opening the lanes back to traffic this afternoon.

Radio traffic reports described miles of tractor trailers lined up from I-485 since 6 am. Whether the sign repair work was an emergency or planned is unknown at this time.