CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Charlotte Department of Transportation says it will present rebuilding parts of I-277, plus closing, replacing or re-aligning ramps on the interstate as a list of possibilities to make the loop around uptown more efficient and safer.
Officials say they have a list of about 24 possibilities for I-277, which will be unveiled Tuesday night during a public workshop at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center. CDOT has been studying I-277 since last year to review existing conditions and find operational improvements. The public is welcome to share concerns or offer solutions.
"It's horrible,” said driver Jason Chumley, who drives I-277 daily but tries to avoid it when he can.
One problem is cars weaving across multiple lanes of traffic to reach an exit as drivers are merging onto the loop.
"I've had to slam on the brakes several times,” Chumley said.
Drivers say that happens daily at I-277 and Carson Street, Independence Boulevard, Davidson Street, Fourth Street and Stonewall Street.
The area of I-277 near Bank of America Stadium where drivers wanting I-77 South cross paths with drivers heading toward I-77 North can be a white-knuckle, hit-the-brakes experience, especially during rush hour.
"I can't tell you how many wrecks I've seen,” Chumley said.
CDOT says the number of wrecks along the loop is higher than comparable urban interstates.
CDOT also says the loop is old, doesn't meet current design standards and isn't expected to meet traffic and safety standards over the next 50 years. Part of the problem includes entrance and exit ramps too close to one another, which causes the weaving across lanes. CDOT officials say the distance between some of the entrances and exits currently on I-277 would not be allowed today under current design standards.
"Before you know it, you are running out of space,” said driver Carol Raley.
CDOT is looking at options including rebuilding parts of the loop, plus replacing, closing or re-aligning ramps. Exact locations won’t be released until Tuesday.
"If you can cut down on the danger to the driver, (the) changes are worth it,” Dalton said.
Projects identified by CDOT’s study and driver feedback will be considered for the area's 2040 long-range transportation plan. That plan has to be approved by 2014.
There is currently no funding for potential changes to I-277 and officials say any changes, if approved and funded, could be decades from completion.
Tuesday’s public workshop runs from 3:30 to 7:00 p.m.