Elected officials praise I-77 shoulder lane funding, I-77 Express not happy

   

Pictured above: Cornelius Commissioner Mike Miltich – WSIC Photo

CORNELIUS, NC (WSIC NEWS) – I-77 Express says the NCDOT’s plan to harden shoulders for travel is outside of the contract terms unless it receives “fair compensation.”

The Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization (CRTPO) approved a $47 million fund swap proposed by NCDOT this week. Cornelius Commissioner Mike Miltich represents the town on the CRTPO Board and tells WSIC regulations prevented certain funding from being used for I-77. It was swapped for other money that was available without restriction. I-77 Express is not happy with the plan.

“As seen in the first month of I-77 Express operations, the new lanes have presented motorists with an increasingly popular travel option along the corridor. The presence of the express lanes is also increasing travel speeds and reducing drive times in the general purpose lanes,” says a statement from I-77 Express released to WSIC.

“The NCDOT proposal tries to address issues that the express lanes are already visibly improving.”

Miltich feels the NCDOT is within its rights under the contract.

“Looking at the wording, I would agree with that interpretation,” says Miltich. “But, there probably will be a legal fight. Whether or not who prevails, that’s a different question, but I am confident NCDOT made the right determination.”

Miltich talked about the funding move with WSIC Friday morning. He joined local leaders and business owners at a Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce “Focus Friday” event where state lawmakers provided a legislative update.

State Senator Natasha Marcus and Representative Christy Clark both expressed approval for the NCDOT’s plan at Friday’s meeting.

The NCDOT says the travel lanes created by shoulder hardening will be used during peak hours until other improvements are available. First responders will be involved with the design process according to the CRTPO.

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