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Cornelius News

COVID-19 will delay road improvements, and help town budget


By Dave Vieser. Four big road projects scheduled to start next year in Cornelius have just been pushed back by at least one year according to the NC Dept. of Transportation.

The delays are related to the impact of COVID-19 on the NCDOT’s sources of revenue, said spokeswoman Jen Thompson.

As North Carolina stays at home to slow the spread of COVID-19, traffic volumes have plummeted, causing a $300 million budget shortfall for the NCDOT.

NCDOT revenue is funded through the Motor Fuels Tax, Highway Use Tax and DMV fees.

Local governments across the state are dealing with the delays and what they mean.

In Cornelius, the projects are:

—Northcross Drive Extension from Huntersville to Cornelius

—Dual roundabouts at Catawba Avenue and US 21

—Three roundabouts on Torrence Chapel Road

—A roundabout at Potts Street and NC 115.

“We’ve revised schedules for these projects—all four are now currently scheduled for letting in May 2022,” Thompson said.

As for other delays, “it’s too soon to know what the total impact will be from COVID-19. It will probably be a few months before we can assess what the total impacts will be on individual projects.”

Delaying these projects may be a mixed bag. Traffic will be snarled by construction but afterwards it will improve.

Delay helps town budget

The delay will ultimately help manage expenses for the Town of Cornelius.


“Perhaps the silver lining is multi-million dollar cash outlays are postponed for quite some time,” said Commissioner Jim Duke.

No one knows how long the projects will be put off.

“It is important that we use available cash wisely. There are a number of larger scale budget items that could be funded now without any real fiscal pain. I hope that we can keep our eyes on both short-term and longer-term fiscal needs,” Duke said.