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Cornelius News

NCDOT outlines lane closures for new DDI at Exit 23, starting Thursday

Sept. 5. By Dave Vieser. Say what you will about Diverging Diamond Interchanges (DDI), but statistics have proven that they are safer than a standard interchange with left turns. With that in mind, the DOT will be closing all southbound lanes each night between 11 pm and 5 am on a stretch of Interstate 77 in Huntersville at Exit 23 starting Thursday, Sept. 7 as crews transform the badly outdated Gilead Road exit into a diverging-diamond.

More lane closures will be implemented throughout the month. The $30.8-million project also includes a new bridge to handle eastbound traffic over I-77, while the existing bridge will serve westbound drivers.

Concurrently U.S. 21 is being widened from two to four lanes on both sides of Gilead Road. Exit 23 leads to downtown Huntersville to the east and to Novant Health Huntersville Medical Center on the west. With the hospital close by, first responders have been notified about the lane closures which will include both standard and express/toll lanes.

Why is the Cornelius DDI frequently congested?

It’s due to the short distance between the interchanges to the east (Hwy. 21) and the west (Torrence Chapel Road/Liverpool Parkway). There’s just not enough room for all the cars, according to officials who knew this was going to be a problem. That said, it was preferable to the more dangerous standard intersection design which includes left turns.