Interstate 77

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Interstate 77 passes through a four-level interchange with Interstate 485 just north of the South Carolina state line in Charlotte. Sugar Creek meanders through the exchange. 06/01/07

Interstate 77 travels 106 miles through North Carolina from Charlotte to Virginia just south of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Serving regional and freight traffic from the Southeastern U.S. to the Great Lakes Region, I-77 joins the Charlotte metropolitan area with I-40 at Statesville and I-74 west of Mt. Airy.

Interstate 77 North Carolina Guides

I-77 Express Lanes

Heavy commuter traffic along Interstate 77 between Uptown Charlotte and Mooresville in Iredell County was addressed by the I-77 Express Lanes project. Costing $647 million and split into three sections, construction commencing in November 2015 expanded 26 miles of the four to six lane freeway. Originally anticipated to open by late 2018, the addition of "direct-connect" ramps at the exchange with I-85, allowing motorists to join with or depart from the Express Lanes without crossing the general traffic lanes, added several months of work.1

The South Section added two tolled Express Lanes in each direction of Interstate 77 between I-277/NC 16 (Brookshire Freeway) and the exchange with I-85. The Central Section added two tolled Express Lanes per direction along the six lane segment of I-77 northward from I-85 (Exit 18) to Catawba Avenue (Exit 28). The North Section added an additional managed lane per direction on the four lane portion of I-77 to a point north of NC 150 (W Plaza Drive) / Exit 38. The managed lanes are operated by the I-77 Mobility Partners.

The Central and North Section of the I-77 Express Lanes, from Hambright Road north of I-485 in Huntersville to NC 150 in Mooresville, commenced operations on June 1, 2019.2 The 11.5 mile long South Section opened to motorists from the Brookshire Freeway northward to I-485 on the evening of November 16, 2019.1 The I-77 Express Lanes project converted the exchange with Griffith Street at Exit 30 into a dumbbell interchange and modified the systems interchange at I-277/NC 16 with new flyovers to the Express Lanes and a replacement ramp from I-277 south to I-77 south.1

Eight miles of Interstate 77 leading north from I-85 to I-485 were previously widened in conjunction with the addition of HOV lanes between December 2001 and December 2004 at a cost of $83 million. This brought the freeway up to eight overall lanes with a carpool lane in each direction. Work upgraded the exchange with I-85 as well, where a new bridge was added for the northbound ramp from I-85 to I-77 and the south end of the carpool lane.3,4,5

The northbound carpool lane was constructed two miles shorter than the southbound lane due to costs. The original costs for the HOV project were $8 million, which increased to $13 million when the project was complete. Had the northbound lane matched the southbound lane in length, the initial costs would have been $20 million more due to the need for additional bridges and right of way.4,5

I-77 at NC 150 - Mooresville

Looking southward at Interstate 77 from N.C. 150 in the town of Mooresville prior to the addition of the I-77 Express Lanes. Heavy traffic trudged southward due to a series of traffic accidents during the afternoon peak hours. Suburban development extends far north from Charlotte along the freeway corridor. 12/30/08

Interstate 77 scenes
NC 73 eastbound shield posted within the parclo interchange at Interstate 77 in Huntersville. NC 73 follows Sam Furr Road through the commercial center of town. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Eastbound Sam Furr Road at the northbound on-ramp to Interstate 77. I-77 continues next to Cornelius and the merge with U.S. 21 at Catawba Avenue. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Approaching the parclo interchange with I-77/U.S. 21 on Williamson Road south at the traffic light with Alcove Road. Alcove Road constitutes a west side frontage road for the freeway between Exit 33 and Langtree Road. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Williamson Road at I-77/U.S. 21 south to Cornelius and Charlotte. U.S. 21 north splits with the freeway and joins Williamson Road briefly before turning northeast along Charlotte Highway. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Interstate 77 and U.S. 21 overlap five miles to Exit 28 at Cornelius. U.S. 21 merges again with the freeway at Exit 16 in Charlotte. Photo taken 12/30/08.
The entrance ramp for Interstate 77 north from E Broad Street (SR 2321) in Statesville lies opposite the entrance to Newtowne Plaza. Photo taken 01/17/19.
E Broad Street (SR 2321) westbound at the parclo A2 interchange (Exit 50) with Interstate 77 in Statesville. Photo taken 01/17/19.
A vintage state named shield for Interstate 77 north. Photo taken 01/17/19.
Through Jonesville and Elkin, U.S. 21 splits into Business and Bypass components. I-77 combines with U.S. 21 Bypass north from Exit 79 to Exit 83. These shields appeared along NC 67 eastbound at Exit 82. Photo taken 10/05/01.
Missing shield for Interstate 77 along NC 67 east approaching I-77/U.S. 21 Bypass. Photo taken 01/17/19.
A parclo interchange joins NC 67 with I-77/U.S. 21 Bypass. Photo taken 01/17/19.
Confirming marker for NC 67 west of the exchange with I-77/U.S. 21 Bypass. Photo taken 01/17/19.
NC 268 Bypass meets Interstate 77 east of U.S. 21 Bypass and Elkin Valley. Photo taken 07/09/10.
I-77 bypasses Elkin to the east southward from NC 268 to Statesville. North from Exit 85, I-77 continues to I-74 near Mt. Airy. Photo taken 07/09/10.
NC 268 Bypass expands to a five lane commercial boulevard west from I-77. Photo taken 07/09/10.

Sources:
  1. "Final Interstate 77 toll lane stretch now open after 4 years of construction." The Charlotte Observer (NC), November 16, 2019.
  2. "First part of I-77 toll lanes finally opened Saturday. Here’s what you need to know." The Charlotte Observer (NC), May 31, 2019.
  3. "4 Lanes for I-77 on Way Sooner - Completion of Work in 2003 Possible Via Recent Legislation." Charlotte Observer (NC), November 8, 2001.
  4. "Long 11 Months to Go for I-77/I-85 Relief - Adding Car-Pool Lanes to Widening Project Forced Building Bridge."Charlotte Observer (NC), November 2, 2003.
  5. "I-77 Barriers Come Down as Car-Pool Lanes Wind Up."Charlotte Observer (NC), December 15, 2004.
  6. "Carpool Lanes to East Way on I-77 - Vehicles Carrying 2 or More Can Take Fast Lane North of Charlotte."Charlotte Observer (NC), April 24, 2002.


Photo Credits:

10/05/01, 12/30/08, 07/09/10, 01/17/19 by AARoads

Connect with:
Interstate 40
Interstate 74
Interstate 85
U.S. 21
U.S. 29
U.S. 64
U.S. 70
U.S. 421

Page Updated 08-11-2020.

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