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Cornelius News

Mayor seeks reversal of Hickory Street delay

Feb. 4. By Dave Vieser. Cornelius Mayor Woody Washam has written to NCDOT Secretary Eric Boyette seeking reversal of a one year delay in completing improvements at the intersection of Hickory Street and Hwy. 115, now scheduled for 2014.


In the letter sent Feb. 3, Washam explained that the town was not happy with the delay nor the manner in which it found out about it.

“We fully understand the cash flow issues that NCDOT has endured and understand rising costs due to supply and demand issues. However, the Town found out about the change in schedule through a required update process at the Charlotte Regional Transportation Organization (CRTPO). CRTPO is required to adopt the DOT changes.”

Washam went on to say that there are many projects ongoing in Cornelius and “it is imperative that projects remain on schedule and move forward as expeditiously as possible.”

The Hickory Street project includes rebuilding the intersection, adding turning lanes and installing a traffic signal. The total cost is $1.1 million, with the town paying 40 percent.

The issue initially arose at the Jan. 18 Town Board meeting and was raised again at the Feb. 1 meeting of the town’s Transportation Advisory Board.

“We have a significant safety issue at this intersection,” noted Commissioner Denis Bilodeau. “Left turns are dangerous and mostly impossible.”

The intersection is also in close proximity to Mt. Zion United Methodist Church as well as the soon-to-be-opened Cain Center for the Arts.

“In addition, our town is paying for a street connect (Gem Street) that will bring relief to Catawba Avenue but will send additional traffic to the Hickory Street intersection,” Bilodeau said. “Unfortunately, the project appears to have been caught up in a broader DOT funding and workload issue.”

In addition to the letter to DOT, town officials have also reached out to NC Rep. John Bradford and NC Sen. Natasha Marcus advising them of the delay.