I-77 traffic is derailed after Charlotte’s helicopter crash

Map of the location of the helicopter crash on I-77 in South Charlotte on Tuesday.  Exclamation marks show the crash site and a closed interstate ramp.  This screenshot taken around 1pm shows deeper shades of red when the traffic is busiest.

Map of the location of the helicopter crash on I-77 in South Charlotte on Tuesday. Exclamation marks show the crash site and a closed interstate ramp. This screenshot taken around 1pm shows deeper shades of red when the traffic is busiest.

DriveNC.gov

Officials say Interstate 77 heading south in Charlotte is off-limits after a helicopter crash killed two people.

The southbound lanes near the Nations Ford Road exit will “remain closed for an extended period of time,” the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said in a tweet.

Early reports in The Charlotte Observer said that a WBTV employee confirmed that it was their helicopter, Sky 3, that crashed.

The accident caused detours and back-up traffic in Charlotte, and the traffic slowdown extended all the way to South Carolina, according to both states’ transportation camera departments.

The accident occurred in southern Charlotte, about five miles north of the South Carolina state line.

According to a live broadcast from WSOC-TV, all lanes of traffic between the Tyvola Road exit and the Nations Ford Road exit on southbound I-77 are closed. WSOC is the news partner for The Charlotte Observer.

A Twitter social media statement from CMPD called the incident a severe warning. The statement stated that emergency officials are closing the highway in the area.

“Please avoid the area,” the statement from CMPD said.

I-77 is the main thoroughfare between uptown Charlotte and the South Carolina state line. Officials have not released any detours yet.

Drivers in the area can head south on NC 49, South Tryon Street, or South Boulevard.

Drivers can access I-77 south of the crash site on Arrowood Road or Westinghouse Boulevard.

Northbound traffic is also moving slowly, according to North Carolina Department of Transportation cameras in the area.

SC Department of Transportation cameras on the state line show severe congestion on the northbound lanes of I-77 heading from South Carolina to North Carolina. Those backups appear to include the entry ramps from I-77 north to I-485.

Check back for updates to this developing story.

This story was originally published November 22, 2022 1:31 PM.

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Andrew Dys covers breaking news and public safety for The Herald, where he has been a reporter and columnist since 2000. He has won 51 South Carolina Press Association awards for his coverage of crime, race, justice and people. He is the author of “Slice of Dys” and his work is at the US Library of Congress.

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