Drivers wait, stew

Traffic backed up in the northbound lanes of North Cherry Road on Wednesday morning due to an accident on I-77.
Traffic backed up in the northbound lanes of North Cherry Road on Wednesday morning due to an accident on I-77.

Thousands of people were mired in traffic Wednesday morning while officials cleared a two-car wreck on Interstate 77 near Rock Hill.

The wait was long. Many drivers were on the phone or bobbing their heads to their music. Some were just plain irritated.

Here's a sample:

Two hours late

Charles Barber, 77, of Rock Hill usually gets to his Fort Mill job in 30 minutes. Wednesday, it took more than two hours.

"They need to have police out here directing traffic," Barber said, sitting in his van on Cherry Road.

Barber entertained himself by listening to the radio.

Darren Zhang, 17, also left his house at 8 a.m. to get to work and expected to be more than two hours late.

Zhang said that he was not aware of the traffic problems when he left home.

"I didn't know I had to deal with this," he said.

Just started on the job

Patrick McCullough, 33, left his home off Heckle Boulevard in Rock Hill at 6:45 a.m. He planned to be at work by 7:30 a.m. By 10:05 a.m., his morning commute to Nations Ford Chemicals in Fort Mill wasn't even halfway finished.

He had been sitting bumper-to-bumper on Cherry Road for more than two hours before finally reaching Interstate 77, only to find northbound lanes still closed.

"Unbelievable," he said. "I've only worked there for about three months. I'm still trying to get my foot in the door. I've got to go on in, no matter how long it takes."

Seeking a new route

It appears that not everyone was adversely impacted by the traffic. Janet Johnson, manager of Denny's, said there was a surge of customers in the Cherry Road restaurant between 6 and 11 a.m. to wait out the traffic jam.

"It has been beneficial," Johnson said. "I sure didn't expect it (the traffic) to be this long."

Dorinda Bolden, an associate at Petro Express at 2541 Cherry Road, said the traffic brought in customers.

"Half of the people needed gas and the other half would ask for new directions," said Bolden, who took two hours to arrive to work from her home 15 minutes away.

Waiting for business

Harrelson Nissan, 2574 Cherry Road, is less than a mile from I-77. Manager Tim Criss pulled in at 9:50 a.m. after leaving his home at 9:10. Problem with that, according to Criss, is that he lives five minutes away.

"It's a mess," said Criss.

Sales rep Curtis Barnes stood outside and watched cars creep by.

"A lot of customers would be discouraged from coming because of the traffic," Barnes said. "We have to find more than one way to get in and out of town."