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Cornelius News

Will Rhythm method prevent delays at Torrence Chapel/W. Catawba?


Nov. 2. By Dave VieserThe first round of options for improving traffic flow on Torrence Chapel and Liverpool at West Catawba incorporates the use of three traffic circle/roundabouts, but the plans met with a decidedly cool response from area residents and businesses.

The big issue seems to be no left turns.

“There are a lot of good ideas on the table here, including traffic circles, increasing and adding turn lanes, and leveraging advanced technology to better time the traffic lights. The single element that makes no sense and will definitely not get my support is eliminating left turns from Torrence Chapel to West Catawba,” said veteran Cornelius Commissioner Dave Gilroy, himself a resident on Torrence Chapel.

Town officials and state engineers are now looking at other options, both short and long term, to address an especially challenging traffic situation.

The problem: This intersection is on the west side of the Exit 28 Diverging Diamond Interchange, and, due to its close proximity to the bridge, generates significant congestion for motorists seeking to reach the interstate or the other side of town.

A presentation to the Town Board is scheduled for Monday Dec. 19.

But Kurt Naas, founder of the WidenI-77 anti-toll group, and a former member of the town’s moribund Transportation Advisory Board, said a possible fix would be something called “adaptive signal control technology.”

It utilizes light cycle timing based on real-time traffic conditions monitored by a series of cameras in each signal.

Naas, who lives in The Peninsula, has contacted the town about this option; Kansas-based Rhythm Engineering will explain the system at Monday’s Town Board meeting.

“My hope is that Cornelius will raise their hand and volunteer as a ‘pilot’ for this proven technology”

– Kurt Naas, WidenI77.org

The company has already installed automated signal systems in Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia. Missing from that list: North Carolina.

“My hope is that Cornelius will raise their hand and volunteer as a ‘pilot’ for this proven technology,” Naas said.

Rhythm installed a series of automated signals along Hwy. 17 in Mt. Pleasant, SC, northeast of Charleston, as one example of the type of work they could do in North Carolina and specifically Cornelius.

“NCDOT and its engineering consultant, WSP/Parsons-Brinckerhoff, have been working with the Town and a stakeholder committee on reviewing alternative designs that might be compatible with current constrained funding, existing infrastructure, and right-of-way parameters,” said Mayor Pro Tem Woody Washam.

“This is still ongoing, and a final decision on design has not been made that I know of,” Washam said