you're reading...

Cornelius News

Exit 27: Yea or nay? Now or later?

Aug. 8. By Dave Vieser. Are we hearing mixed signals about the impact a new Atrium Hospital could have on convincing the NCDOT to fund a new Exit 27 on I-77?

Not necessarily, says Deputy Town Manager Wayne Herron.

When Atrium officials unveiled their Cornelius Hospital plans in July, town officials suggested that the new hospital would help convince NCDOT to build an exit at Westmoreland Road.

Wayne Herron

“The new Exit 27 would be a major development not only from an economic standpoint but it would also be positive for Atrium for the purpose of getting patients in and out of the hospital in a safe efficient way,” Herron said at the time.

However, in a response to Cornelius Today reader Carol McKinnell, who raised concerns about traffic, Herron saidAtrium is preparing a traffic impact analysis (TIA), as required by Town Code.

“[They] will be required to build and fund any improvements deemed necessary, due to their impacts on the area. The traffic engineers involved for the Town and for Atrium, do not believe Exit 27 at Westmoreland Road and I-77 will be a required improvement based on the impact that is being presented,” Herron said.

Devil is in the details

So when will we possibly see movement toward a new exit?

“The TIA is including traffic from both hospital phases and a projection for the Phase 3 commercial/office/retail portion and the estimate is that none of this will require an interstate exit,” Herron explained. “It takes a significant amount of trip generation to mandate an interstate exit.”

There will be other traffic requirements with signals and widenings, but no interchange.

Working together

What Atrium has pledged is to utilize their influence to work with the Town to achieve state funding for the interchange.

“Atrium would like to have the interchange for their safety and benefit as much as the Town for transportation and economic benefits,” Herron explained.


Town Board Member Denis Bilodeau has also asked that the new exit be given priority. “With the current financial troubles at NCDOT, towns across the state are being asked to identify their highest priority projects. Without question, a new Exit 27 would significantly relieve congestion along our key travel corridors including the Exit 28 bridge.”