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Cornelius News

Roundabout likely at key Main Street intersection

I-77 bonus allocation funds would pay for a roundabout on North Main, eliminating left-turn back-ups

By Dave Vieser. ​People who dislike roundabouts won’t be happy, but it appears the ​knot where North Main Street​ and Potts Street meet near the​ YMCA and the​ ​border with ​Davidson may be​ reconfigured into a roundabout. Most of the project will be funded by the state using I-77 toll lane bonus allocation funds.

Property acquisition should begin in 2018 and construction by the start of 2020.

The area can be a mess during peak travel times and, left unchanged, would “continue to degrade​,​“ said Assistant Town Manager Andrew Grant.  “Furthermore, the Potts-Sloan-Beatty Connector project in Davidson will increase traffic volume, further degrading the level of service.  Improvements are needed in the short and long-term,” he said.

This could be the first roundabout in 28031.

The Potts-Sloan-Beatty Connector will provide motorists going through Davidson with an alternate north/south artery. This should relieve some of the heavy traffic often seen on Main Street but it will also increase traffic coming down Potts Street towards Cornelius.

NCDOT and the Kimley-Horn consulting firm have been analyzing the traffic and alternative designs. They have engaged the public and local businesses during the process, including holding a public meeting to receive comments on two alternative designs: One is the roundabout; the other a signalized intersection. Preferences centered on the roundabout.

“There are pros and cons to both options,” said Kimley-Horne’s Project Manager Teresa Gresham. “However the major concern with the signalized method is that motorists traveling northbound on Main Street would not be able to make a left turn into Davidson Street to access the YMCA.”

The DOT’s projected cost for the roundabout is $6.9 million, but Grant says that could change. “This is only a planning level cost estimate for the project.  During design, a more refined estimate will be prepared, likely revising the cost estimate.  The Town will eventually have discussions with the DOT about those more refined cost estimates for the project, including who provides funds for amounts that exceed current funding levels.”

Gresham says the DOT is working with Kimley Horne on a modified version of the roundabout design which should be ready for presentation to residents and town officials by the middle of 2018.

The town has appointed an advisory board to help deal with transportation decisions around North Main. Members include Mayor Woody Washam​ and Commissioner Dave Gilroy as well as Kathryn McClelland (Historic Preservation) and Catawba North residents Joy Dean and Ken Batts. PARC Chair Scott Higgins, Planning Director Wayne Herron, Town Manager Anthony Roberts and Assistant Manager Andrew Grant are also members as well as officials from the NCDOT and YMCA. Gary Winge from Carolina Cones is the lone business person on the advisory board.