you're reading...

Cornelius News

The right to make a left won’t go away for a long time​

March 2​4​. By Dave Vieser​. A final plan is emerging for improvements at the West Catawba Avenue and Torrence Chapel Road/Liverpool Parkway intersection which will eliminate left turns after all, but not for many years. Cornelius Assistant Town Manager Andrew Grant ​said the new plan worked out with the NCDOT gradual​ly eliminates left turns as traffic volume increases​.

T​he Cornelius Town Board had rejected the ​state’s ​plan to​ immediately eliminating left turns from Torrence Chapel and Liverpool as part of the planned intersections improvements.​ The town and the NCDOT struck an agreement which in essence prevents the state from eliminating left turns if they consistently see back-ups onto I-77.

The good news ​is that left turns won’t be phased out until around 2025. Until then left​-​turn movements will remain as they are today: ​A​ maximum lef​t-​turn cycle of 17 seconds from Torrence Chapel and 11 seconds from Liverpool.​ Ultimately, of course, the right to make a left will someday go away.​

In addition all of the other structural improvements for the busy intersection will take place. The difference from ​NC​DOTs original plan: ​F​ive years after the improvements are completed, which will be approximately 2025, the left​-​turn cycles will be shortened, using Average Annual Daily Traffic (AADT) data as the guide. These are industry standard traffic counts​;​ ​both NCDOT and the town will jointly compile the data.

Eventually, as the traffic counts continue to rise, the left turns will be completely eliminated, but probably not until around 2035, if historical growth continues. Furthermore, at the towns insistence, the intersection improvements will be done in a manner which will not require extensive changes when the left turns are finally eliminated.

The improvements are being funded by bonus allocation funds made available as part of the I77 toll lane project. A final written agreement which reflects the step down plan is expected to be presented to the town board within the next two months. “We will want to hold ​NC​DOT’s feet to the fire in that municipal agreement to make sure this happens​,​” Grant ​said.