CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Emergency responders, elected officials, NCDOT and drivers across Mecklenburg and Iredell counties gathered for an I-77 safety summit Wednesday night.

The tense meeting comes after the NCDOT and state highway patrol reported a concerning trend: more and more crashes.

One driver says he started collecting metal debris spotted all over I-77. Ghost lanes and HOV lanes were other hot-button topics.

“There have been a lot of accidents and people are afraid,” says Mecklenburg County Commissioner Pat Cotham.

Jayne Eve, a driver from Cornelius, says the drives down I-77 is very risky.

“You’ve got to be very alert,” Eve says.

NBC Charlotte looked into the number of crashes on I-77 and each year, we found that number has gone up.

  • 2012: 1,977.
  • 2013: 2,085.
  • 2014: 2,242.
  • 2015: 2,336.

That is about a 20 percent increase.

Kurt Naas, founder of Widen I-77, says there is between one to two serious accidents occurring per week on a seven-mile-stretch of I-77.

“If you’re coming northbound on I-77 past I-85, the barriers are so close and it’s a very curvy part of the road that truckers aren’t allowed enough room,” Eve says.

Metal debris and ghost lanes: another issue for drivers, especially at night. Everyone is hoping the DOT gets moving on necessary improvements.

“I think the DOT listened and I hope they take action on it,” Naas says.

DOT says it is going to add barriers so drivers know the HOV lane is not in service. It will also put up more signs warning drivers of work ahead.