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NCDOT Fines I-77 Contractor Over Lane Closures After Sign Accident

An NCDOT traffic camera showed I-77 northbound at Mile 21 jammed around 2 p.m. on May 12 because of work on the damaged sign near Exit 31.

NCDOT has fined the lead contractor on the I-77 toll lanes project $412,500 for daytime lane closures after construction accident in Mooresville last month that caused a day-long traffic jam. The DOT notified I-77 Mobility Partners of the penalty in a letter Thursday.

The incident happened May 12 around 12:30 a.m., when a truck driver struck an overhead sign on I-77 northbound near Exit 31 in Mooresville. Workers kept two of the highway's three lanes closed into the afternoon that day while they removed the sign. That backed up traffic for at least 12 miles, from Mooresville to Charlotte.

Under the contract, lane closures aren't allowed between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m.

The truck driver was later charged with reckless driving and driving without a license.

NCDOT also has penalized the contractor for other lane-closure violations, including a $1.36 million fine for keeping lanes closed during morning rush hour last month near I-277 in Charlotte.

A spokeswoman for I-77 Mobility Partners declined to comment Thursday. 

David Boraks previously covered climate change and the environment for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.