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Cornelius News

Board rejects left-turn prohibitions at Torrence Chapel

Jan. 18. By Dave Vieser. After two-and-a-half hours of testimony from several dozen speakers, all opposed to eliminating left turns for traffic on Torrence Chapel Road, the Cornelius Town Board unanimously rejected that aspect of a “traffic improvement” plan proposed by the NCDOT. Mayor Chuck Travis asked the DOT and their traffic engineering consulting firm, WSP/Parsons-Brinckerhoff to continue working on improvements for this intersection, but without any left-turn restrictions.

The 4-0 decision (Mayor Pro Tem Woody Washam was traveling) was clearly a victory for the large number of residents and businesses who teamed up over the past few months to oppose the proposed left-turn restrictions.

Cornelius resident Russ Lane’s comments were representative of the audience’s opinion. “I think a common sense approach would be to do the development of the traffic circles but keep the left turn lanes. In 10 years or so, if we need
to cut the left turns out, we can revisit the issue at that time.”

Improvements to the Torrence Chapel/Catawba intersection are needed to speed the flow of traffic across the Exit 28 DDI. The town has been offered $5 million in toll lane bonus allocation funds to apply towards the improvements, but most speakers at the Jan. 17 meeting suggested that the town should turn down the money if it means being forced to eliminate left turns.

Speakers and commissioners also asked the DOT to spend more time looking at what improvements could be made to Knox Road, which may absorb additional traffic in the future.

Travis said “we’ll continue to work with DOT, and actually address the comments they have to try to make this a plan we can all have. We’ll also work closely with our business owners and make sure they’re happy as well. We have to maintain access to and from their businesses.”