Thursday, November 12, 2015

After allies shellacked at polls, I77 HOT lanes contractor makes surprise announcement

In a surprise move, Cintra/I77 Mobility Partners announced Thursday that construction would begin this coming Monday on the I77 HOT lanes project.  The surprise announcement comes just over a week after pro-toll politicians took a shellacking at the polls.

The announcement also comes on the eve of a press conference called by members of the local delegation to the General Assembly.  The meeting will be Friday morning at the LKN Chamber.  The Chamber has been fighting the toll project alongside local activists.

This all sets an interesting stage for a supposed "summit" on the issue sometime next week with Governor McCrory.

This move could be seen as a sign of confidence by the company they will prevail in their January showdown in court with, or it could be seen as a sign of panic at the recent change in the politics on the ground here in North Mecklenburg.

Either way, it amps up the pressure on the state level politicians to do everything they can to stop the project, or their own political tenures could end the same way as those in Huntersville did last week.

Press release below from I77 Mobility Partners PR flack, Jean Leier (pronounced liar).

Charlotte, N.C. (November 12, 2015) – I-77 Mobility Partners today announced that construction of the I-77 Express Lanes in the Charlotte and Lake Norman region will begin this Monday, November 16, 2015. A public-private partnership is providing a $648 million investment for a 26-mile expansion that will alleviate traffic congestion in one of North Carolina’s most important corridors.

Construction of the I-77 Express Lanes will occur in the median of I-77 with minimal disruption to commuters. Occasional lane shifts and closures will only take place in overnight hours. However, with day and night activity in the work zone, motorists should drive safely and stay alert at all times.

“I-77 Mobility Partners is excited to begin construction. The project will bring reduced traffic congestion, spur economic development through the hiring of 50-100 local firms and deliver a choice 
for North Carolina drivers at little cost to taxpayers,” said Jean Leier, Director of Corporate Affairs at I-77 Mobility Partners. “We are committed to regular and ongoing communications with residents, commuters and businesses in the area to ensure a successful and safe project.”

Construction will start in the area south of Exit 23 Gilead Road to north of Exit 28 Catawba Avenue. Traffic control measures include restriping the roadway and shifting the lanes, installing a concrete safety barrier near the median and placing road markers along the project area. Initial construction work involves clearing the land and grading of the area. In 2016 drivers will see construction work along most of the 26-mile project.

Once the project is complete, dedicated express lanes will run adjacent to the existing general purpose lanes. The number of general purpose lanes will remain the same as today. Drivers will have the choice of using the express lanes to avoid travel delays, the general purpose lanes or a 
combination of both. Carpoolers with three or more occupants (including the driver) may use the express lanes for free. The full 26-mile project is slated to be completed in 2018. 

“We believe this project will provide a benefit to I-77 users as an improvement to their daily quality of life,” Leier added. “With less congestion, drivers will have more time with their families or at the office, be able to make more service calls, and have greater access to goods and services.”

Area residents are encouraged to sign up for email updates by visiting I-77 Mobility Partners’ website:

Updates also will be posted to our social media channels:

  •  I-77 Mobility Partners Facebook page
  •  I-77 Mobility Partners Twitter page

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