Wilkinson Blvd. detour a safety hazard?

Credit: NCDOT

Wilkinson Blvd. detour a safety hazard?

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by TONY BURBECK / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @TonyWCNC

WCNC.com

Posted on July 17, 2013 at 5:54 PM

Updated Monday, Jul 22 at 11:32 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A detour for thousands of cars is now a safety concern for a local gas station owner.

Crews started tearing up Wilkinson Boulevard Wednesday after part of the road washed out.

The detour has cars taking Old Dowd and Sam Wilson Roads around the damage.

Now, a store owner says that detour is making her lot a cut through for people who don't want to wait for the light back onto Wilkinson.

It took just a few minutes of standing in this BP gas station' lot to capture the owner's concern on tape.

Car after car used it as a cut through instead of waiting to turn at the light.

It happened a couple of times while talking to driver Jeremy Weaver.

"Right there, yeah, exactly, that's real dangerous, people don't know how to drive anymore," said driver Jeremy Weaver as he watched a handful of cars cut through near the gas pumps.

The detour takes cars away from the repair job after an 18 inch underground pipe gave out and washed out a hole underneath the road and shoulder. It created a hole about 12 feet deep.

"A 12 foot drop a few inches from traffic wouldn't be good," said NDCOT employee Jeff Littlefield.

Crews are reconnecting the broken pipe.  Littlefield says it likely failed due to age and all the recent rain putting too much stress on it.  They used a camera placed under the road to get a closer look at the damage

"It's been an extremely wet June and actually an extremely wet year and it will expose any weakness we have so hopefully it's exposed all we're going to see."

Back at the gas station, the owner says these cut-throughs are exposing drivers to potential crashes.

The owner says cut-throughs already happen at the gas station, but the detour is at least doubling the number.

Weaver drives Wilkinson almost daily and took the detour. It's about four minutes long if you're stuck behind slow moving semis.

"Definitely burning more gas because from 85 to 74 use a lot more horsepower, the detours, a lot of people don't know the area well and get lost easily," Weaver said.

"It's no problem for me," said driver Tom Dailey.

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