Governor Cooper and the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization (CRTPO) Move to Allow Use of Hardened Shoulders on I-77 to Alleviate Traffic Concerns
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper is promoting the possibility of using hardened shoulders on I-77 during peak hours to allow cars to drive from one exit to the next without having to merge into the general-purpose lanes. This will be benefit local residents whose trips on the interstate are short. Adding another full free lane is also being considered but will require renegotiation of the contract with CINTRA/I-77 Mobility Partners. This cannot be achieved without the approval of the North Carolina General Assembly, which has thus far denied that possibility.
The CRTPO approved using the hardened shoulders as traffic lanes during peak hours by a 15-2 vote.
Melanie Zimmermann, Legislative Assistant to Senator Natasha Marcus, stated that there was no timeline at this point for the successful completion of this project. She noted that it could be held up in litigation.
Also, Senator Marcus, Representative Clark, and Representative Beasley filed a bill (SB 348/HB 441) to address the fact that the Governor cannot cancel or renegotiate the terms of the toll lane contract. It seeks to give him the authority to do so.