Throwing Safety to the Wind?
Yes, we’re hopelessly biased against this project, but let’s be honest: have you ever seen an interstate construction site look like this?
The above photo was taken the Monday morning near exit 25. the dust cloud looked like this:
But should this be surprising? Despite a lane shift and narrowing lanes, the areas has- unbelievably- not been declared a construction zone. So the rare times when traffic actually moves along I-77, it stands the risk of barreling into a dust storm at 65mph…with no warning. Small wonder there seems to be an accident every other day.
The contract requires I-77 Mobility Partners to perform construction according to FHWA standards, yet we cannot recall an instance where “non-construction” has cause a dust cloud like the one above, except on this project. Anyone remember dust clouds during I-85 construction? Neither do we. Yet all summer this was a common occurrence on I-77.
And then there were the rumble strips. Remember driving over them as result of the lane shift? Cintra didn’t bother to pave them until there was a sufficient public outcry.
Then again, playing loose with requirements seems to be the order of the day on I-77. You may recall construction began without a required permit. And the contract was modified to essentially eliminate revenue sharing, despite a NC law requires revenue sharing for all P3 projects. The financing deadline was extended three times… at taxpayer expense. And the Environmental Assessment had a timeline that ended in 2017, a year before the project is scheduled to open.
It looks like in addition to playing loose with permitting, financing, and the environment, you can add safety to that list.