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monsoon

Widening of I-77

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No it's not what you think. I just read the most incredible story in the local Huntersville paper. The state has funded the NCDOT to do a widening project on I-77 between the Brookshire Freeway and I-85 (this is North of downtown). They are going to add 1 foot to each south bound lane. This is not a typo, they are going to spend $16M to add 1 foot to each of these lanes. Apparently they built the road outside of federal guidelines to save money (11 ft lanes instead of 12 ft) and now, apparently the feds have told them they have to fix it.

I-77 is littered with trash, the lights don't work and the pavement will beat your car to pieces and this is how they decide to spend money on it.

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No it's not what you think. I just read the most incredible story in the local Huntersville paper. The state has funded the NCDOT to do a widening project on I-77 between the Brookshire Freeway and I-85 (this is North of downtown). They are going to add 1 foot to each south bound lane. This is not a typo, they are going to spend $16M to add 1 foot to each of these lanes. Apparently they built the road outside of federal guidelines to save money (11 ft lanes instead of 12 ft) and now, apparently the feds have told them they have to fix it.

I-77 is littered with trash, the lights don't work and the pavement will beat your car to pieces and this is how they decide to spend money on it.

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This was announced a couple of years ago when the widening of 77 was completed from just north of Harris (future 485 interchange) to I-85. They didn't widen the stretch below 85 due to costs, they simply restriped the lanes to allow for the addition of the HOV lane south of the flyover (making all lanes more narrow). They planned all along to go back and widen those lanes so they would conform to established widths.

They are now going in and widening those lanes which would have been expected back when the rest of I-77 was increased to 4 southbound lanes.

No money was wasted (except on paint and man hours to restripe) and it allowed those lanes to exist all this time. It was a VERY cost effective way to get the project finished a couple of years ago when the money ran out.

This is not news...

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Charlotte native is correct. It was a part of the I-77 HOV project, done temporarily to squeeze enough lanes out of the existing pavement to save costs. The intent was always to come back later and widen the roadway to standard widths. I haven't read the story but it sounds like another version of 'don't believe everything you read in the paper.'

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^The point is why spend the money at all? There are so many other needs on this road and that seems to be the least of the problems with it. (I agree the paper could be wrong, I was manly commenting on the insulting comment made at the end of this post about this being news or not.)

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There was a double fatality wreck on 77 today. A driver going too fast already swerved lanes to avoid rear ending someone and then broke through the barrier to the opposite side of the highway. Then she slammed head on into a truck killing herself and the truck passenger. Adding lanes will help but some people don't learn lessons until it's too late.

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I read an article recently, and I can't seem to find it or remember where, that stated that they plan to widen I-77 in North Mecklenburg from 485 to NC 73 in Huntersville I believe around 2013? That is only a mile or two I think. Pretty rediculous - I-77 should be atleast 3 lanes in all of Mecklenburg Count by now...

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Why can't they add a full lane while they are out there? There is space in all of the medians to do it and they're going to have to grade and level the area anyways to add the extra foot for the lanes (3 feet total right?) and all the equipment, supplies, etc. are there.

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I don't at all know about regulations for acquiring funds from the feds to widen a road, but is it possible that in order to widen 77 in the future DOT had to have the road up to par/standards for the feds to give them money?

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I recall posting about this when I first read about it a couple of years ago. It was stated in the Observer (which apparently gets its news a couple years before it trickles into the Huntersville paper :) ) during the HOV widening that they would eventually need to re-correct the lane widths. They shaved a foot from each lane to create the HOV lane to Brookshire, with the idea that they were delaying some of the true costs of the HOV lane by re-adding those lane-widths in a TIP project that has been scheduled for a couple years.

At the time, I strongly apposed this spending. I still oppose this spending. It is a total waste to spend money to add back a foot to the lanes when the speed limit is already brought down to 55 mph. In the Observer article a few years ago, Barry Moose even admitted that accidents had not risen with smaller lanes. While $16m is mere pennies to the NCDOT budget, it is still important money that could go to many other more worthy projects.

This is basically a project that spends to increase the safety of people breaking the law. If everyone were consistently going the 55 mph speed limit, that extra foot of lane width is not necessary. It is a true shame that this money is still planned for this purpose, a few years after it was first scheduled.

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I also recall reading in the Observor a few years ago about them saving the $ to go back at a later time to finish the widening.

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^ Well Dubone, I notice you edited your post but the edit isn't indicated in your current post. You originally concluded your post with this statement; "I guess this can be considered news for the late entrants".

I guess it can be, but the problem with that is the same as with the South Light Rail Line. When it was originally proposed it was made CLEAR that the $227M pricetag was an estimate and was not in any way ADJUSTED for inflation. No one on any side of that issue thought it would cost only $227M to build that line. It was simply a starting point in 1998 dollars. If you start with that original cost estimate, and factor in a growth rate of about 8.3% annually, you arrive at the current cost. Now, I wish it was not going to be that expensive, but considering basic inflation (between 4 and 5%) and the spiralling costs of materials, I don't think 8.3% is all that bad.

My point as it relates to this thread is simply this: there are those who don't pay attention or keep up with information and then suddenly they are caught off guard and they over react. Read anything by SCAT or some of the alarmed posts in this thread to see what I mean.

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I recall posting about this when I first read about it a couple of years ago. It was stated in the Observer (which apparently gets its news a couple years before it trickles into the Huntersville paper :) ) .....

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As a result, the paper reported that one of the commissioners has proposed that Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson and Mooresville, combine efforts to make a concerted push to get the priorities changed so money can be shifted to widen the road much sooner.

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^The point is why spend the money at all? There are so many other needs on this road and that seems to be the least of the problems with it. (I agree the paper could be wrong, I was manly commenting on the insulting comment made at the end of this post about this being news or not.)

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....If they say the lanes must be 12 feet, then that's the end of the story......

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Apparently not since they built the road with 11ft lanes. Is what you are saying that it is OK for the NCDOT to spend money to build an out of compliance road if they place some kind of plan on the books to fix it in the future?

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I think this all goes back to the communication problems that we see at all levels of government. We have a situation that's really not that outrageous, in the sense that the proper decisions seem to have been made at each step of the process, that appears to be unexplainably stupid when presented as a news bulletin.

The transit offices (CATS, DOT, FTA) really need to do a better job of communicating the reality of these events to the public. It's entirely too difficult for the layman to keep up with the progress of these situations when most of our news is gleaned from isolated news bulletins. I don't have any ready solutions to suggest, but the public distrust of government transit agencies is only going to grow if these kinds of issues continue to be presented as flagrant examples of government incompetence (and that is not a shot at metro for posting it, because I certainly didn't know the details of this issue before reading the conversation and I expect that I'm in a large majority on that point).

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I think this all goes back to the communication problems that we see at all levels of government. We have a situation that's really not that outrageous, in the sense that the proper decisions seem to have been made at each step of the process, that appears to be unexplainably stupid when presented as a news bulletin.

The transit offices (CATS, DOT, FTA) really need to do a better job of communicating the reality of these events to the public. It's entirely too difficult for the layman to keep up with the progress of these situations when most of our news is gleaned from isolated news bulletins. I don't have any ready solutions to suggest, but the public distrust of government transit agencies is only going to grow if these kinds of issues continue to be presented as flagrant examples of government incompetence (and that is not a shot at metro for posting it, because I certainly didn't know the details of this issue before reading the conversation and I expect that I'm in a large majority on that point).

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^ Well Dubone, I notice you edited your post but the edit isn't indicated in your current post. You originally concluded your post with this statement; "I guess this can be considered news for the late entrants".

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I for one am glad that I-77 was able to be completed quicker than had it been required to conform to federal width guidelines from the beginning. Yes it is a very strange stance that the widening was even possible outside of federal guidelines under the stipulation that it would be widened later but the truth of the matter is that it was allowed and for that we should all be thankful, especially those living along the I-77 North corridor.

I do wish that the 12ft. federal mandate could be determined on the basis of incidents and other factors however. I doubt most drivers have issue with driving on 11ft. wide lanes, especially at such a low speed. I do agree that it is a waste of money just to add the foot of asphalt, but considering this is mandated federally and it was predetermined before the original work took place then I don't think anyone has basis to make qualms over the work.

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We will never be able to control the news outlets. Part of their job is to get more people to buy their product and we as Americans prove over and over again that we want sensationalizm. What we can do is not be so knee-jerk on this board and not report everything we hear or read as an urgent, breaking news, alert.

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^One more time. This is a thread about the widening of I-77 as stated above. It is not a thread on news organizations. Any additional off-topic conversations are going to be deleted.

In addition, NCN8ive and JedNC stop trying to cause problems in this thread. You both have been suspended before so don't make this 2 for 2.

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