CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) — A FOX 46 Charlotte viewer says Interstate 77 is turning into a free-for-all due to a perceived lack of troopers on the road way.
Grace from Huntersville says the problem is speeding in the construction zone and no “gut reaction” to slow down.
“I’d like to see people who are going 90 mph on I-77 in a construction zone to be pulled over, they’re a danger,” she says. “I’ve seen people weaving in and out of traffic, racing through the construction zone. I don’t feel safe.”
So, where is Highway Patrol?
“Most of the troopers who work this county are responding to call for service from the moment they check on till the moment they check off,” said Trooper Ray Pierce with the NCHP.
FOX 46 Charlotte learned that there’s only one trooper covering the entire I-77 construction area at a time.
“The days of sitting on a ramp and writing tickets in your downtime is getting fewer and fewer. Do we have the same amount of manpower we had 5-10 years ago? No. Unfortunately traffic has increased, the amount of vehicles on this roadway has increased, but the funding for more troopers has not been there. We’re starting to feel that pinch.”
Trooper Pierce says salaries have also flat lined over the past several years, pushing people to other law enforcement agencies.
“The trooper that’s just getting started making $37,000 a year. This is asking a lot of someone for $37,000 a year. Work every holiday, every other weekend night shift. You’re asking a lot when they can go somewhere else and make that or more with less stress on them and their family.
Grace’s son is also feeling the pinch. He’ll be starting driver’s education a little later because ot it.
“There are still not enough state troopers on the highways, so I think we’re going to put it off until he’s 17 instead of 16,” she tells FOX 46 Charlotte.
You can get results by contacting your state lawmakers asking them to increase funding for State Highway Patrol.