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Cornelius News

Nantz Road: Temporary blinking light next week

Get ready for it: The long-awaited traffic light at Nantz Road and West Catawba will be switched on sometime next week, according to town officials. The light will be operating in the flashing mode for five to 10 days, then steady green and red with yellow in between.

“The DOT has promised a minimum of five days in the flashing mode once the signal is completely installed,” said Commissioner Dr. MIke Miltich, who lives on Nantz Road. Then it should be turned on permanently by mid-April.

It’s none to soon. The light was promised before the Ramsey Creek Park Beach opened last Memorial Day. The beach will reopen for the swimming season the weekend before Memorial Day this year.

As with most DOT signals, traffic sensors in the road will determine when the signal changes to green for traffic on the side street, which in this instance is Nantz Road. If no traffic trips the sensors, the light will stay green for West Catawba.

It’s been a long journey for the neighborhood where it became especially difficult to turn left out Nantz Road with beach traffic and rising traffic counts in general.

Through a spectacularly mixed-up chain of command, the intersection sat half-finished for months. Miltich says he spotted problems with the design, most notably that it was too small. The NCDOT authorized s field change to make the intersection six feet wider.

“Here I am a throat doctor telling the NCDOT how to build a road,” Miltich laughed, while pointing out that the NCDOT also missed installing the additional lanes from Catawba Avenue onto I-77. “It’s frustrating. These are the sam people who are going to widen Catawba Avenue.”

The signal was controversial from the start due to the traffic generated by the opening of the public beach. Originally the signal was supposed to be installed by Memorial Day last year but it was delayed due to the need for various utilities to bury their lines at the intersection.

In the interim, the county paid for Cornelius Police to control traffic during hours when the beach was open last summer.

Epcon, which is developing an active adult community near the intersection, paid for the traffic signal and its installation.