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Cornelius News

In the slow lane: Old Jetton at crossroads with planners

Oct. 22. By Dave Vieser. It’s been eight months since the town said it would take measures to enhance safety at the intersection of Old Jetton Road and Jetton Road, but as of the end of September, no work has begun. On the record, town officials attribute the delay to the tedious process of acquiring the right property.


“We are presently communicating with any affected property owners,” said Town Manager Andrew Grant. “Unfortunately, this phase can take several months. The Town anticipates beginning construction in Winter/Spring of 2020.”

Cornelius Today has also learned that Harris Teeter has conveyed its concerns about the changes.

The treacherous intersection, used by many people to cross Jetton opposite Waterbean and Brooklyn South, currently has no restrictions on left turns or straight-across movements. After extensive study and a community survey, the town board voted earlier this year to restrict turns from Old Jetton Road onto Jetton Road to right turns only. Left turns and straight across movements would be prohibited.

Motorists seeking to access West Catawba Avenue from the Harris Teeter side would either have to make a right turn and then do a U turn on Jetton, or go in the opposite direction on Old Jetton past Dutchman’s Furniture and Allen Tate up to where it reconnects with Catawba at a stop sign. An island, referred to in traffic circles as a “pork chop,” was to be installed at Old Jetton and Jetton to direct motorists in making the right turns. No restrictions were planned for traffic exiting the CVS/Brooklyn South side.

Cornelius residents and motorists have been complaining about the intersection for years.

Back in June 2015 at a Cornelius Town Board meeting, residents Bob Watson and Robbie Lowrance said the intersection, which is a block from West Catawba, is the most dangerous in Cornelius.

“It is the worst intersection in Cornelius. There are too many accidents, and someone is going to get seriously injured,” said Bob Watson, a resident of The Peninsula.

However, within the last two weeks, Cornelius Today has learned from some town officials that there was some pushback from Harris Teeter on the planned turning restrictions at that intersection. In one version, they suggested that the town build a “bulb-out” on Jetton Road to accommodate the motorists making U turns. Neither the town nor Harris Teeter would comment.

In any case, the planned modifications at the intersection were spurred by continued accidents and poor sight distance at the Jetton/Old Jetton intersection.

According to statistics compiled by the town, there were 51 accidents at the intersection between 2010 and 2017. Within the past year there were three accidents, all with property damage.

The intersection was included in the portion of Jetton Road where the speed limit was reduced from 45 to 35 mph several years ago after the town took over control of Jetton Road. However, the reduction in the area speed limit has not had any positive effect on reducing the accident rate.