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Cornelius News

Founder says she will shut down Exit 28 Ridiculousness


April 28. By Dave Yochum. The founder of Exit 28 Ridiculousness, a Facebook page with some 12,000 members, says she will pull the plug on the page this Thursday. In a Facebook post, Administrator in Chief and founder Amanda Dudley said the Facebook page “at its low, which unfortunately is lately,” has been “a vehicle for keyboard warriors to be nasty to one another.”

A voice for thousands

But at its height, Exit 28 Ridiculousness established a voice for literally thousands of people when some political leaders were singing the praises of toll lanes to reduce congestion on I-77.

The then-mayors of Cornelius and Davidson, Chuck Travis and John Woods, actually traveled to Raleigh on “Town Day” in 2016 to argue in favor of the toll lanes. Former NC Sen. David Curtis told Cornelius Today the two mayors said there was not opposition to the toll roads.

Exit 28 Ridiculousness proved them wrong.

Never-before-seen demonstrations on the Exit 28 bridge were conceived and organized on the the Facebook page and celebrated.

Cintra contract

Politicians like Jeff Tarte and John Bradford changed their positions on the toll lanes as more lopsided details in the 900-plus page, 50-year contract with Cintra became apparent.

Public opinion and that of political leaders was swayed in no small part by people who spoke out on Exit 28 Ridiculousness. The no-holds barred approach to commentary sometimes got out of control, but also made it fun. Politicians paid attention to what was said on the page.

But over the years, despite mighty efforts by Bradford and Tarte and a variety of players ranging from former Mecklenburg County Commissioner Jim Puckett and former Cornelius Commissioner Kurt Naas to County Commissioner Pat Cotham and ordinary citizens like Michelle Ferlauto and John “Mac” McAlpine, the toll lane project moved forward relentlessly.

Tolls won out

In November of 2015, I-77 Mobility Partners began construction of the I-77 Express Lanes between Charlotte and Lake Norman. The public-private partnership provided “a $648 million investment for a 26-mile expansion that will alleviate traffic congestion in one of North Carolina’s most important corridors.”

Cintra, controlled by a Spanish company called Ferovial, fueled public outrage on Exit 28 Ridiculousness when there were profound safety issues here and bankruptcies at other Cintra projects

Despite all the efforts to stop and then modify the 50-year toll plan the lanes opened with no fanfare a year ago.

Amidst the complaints about traffic, the tolls and politicians on Exit 28 Ridiculousness, there were recommendations for hair stylists and restaurants, traffic tips, information and links to articles on toll lane failures around the country.

It was like a community bulletin board.

On Facebook Sunday evening, Dudley said it became apparent that a “single coalescing subject” was going to be a non-issue.

“I had hoped and tried to do something positive once again with this page, but at 12k members, we clearly cannot control it anymore and I do not want my name associated with what it’s become. It’s just become too much and I’d rather spend time with my family than monitor what’s been going on here,” she said.