you're reading...

Cornelius News

Toll lane opens amidst pomp, circumstance, squishing


April 1. By Cornelius T. O’Day. Sporting matching red outfits and black Florsheims, the North Korean Cheerleading team performed at the grand opening Saturday of the first stretch of I-77 toll lanes between Mooresville and Davidson.

Speaking from Raleigh, the former mayors of Davidson and Cornelius said the opening was mostly a success despite an unpleasant mishap near the end of the ceremony.

Dog outlook promising

The most prominent public official who did attend, North Wilkesboro Assistant Register of Deeds Chet Wilkes, said the project was good for the state’s production of puppies, explaining that more “pooches” were inseminated during this project than any other in North Carolina history.


The $650 million project is a “technical enhancement”—NCDOT terminology—over the actual $200 million cost of additional general purpose lanes between Lake Norman and the southern end of Huntersville—where the notorious “bottleneck” actually begins.

There was flamenco music, courtesy of a band flown in by Cintra, the Spanish company that holds the 50-year contract on the principal artery between Charlotte and Lake Norman. A former mayor of Cornelius sang when the ceremony was over.

Thankfully no one was injured when the Parade of Military Drones was caught in the mast and sail design of the Exit 28 bridge.

One-car parade messed up

The momentous occasion was marked by a touch of unpleasantness as well.

As the festive music played, Cornelius restarauteur Joe L. Bologna, who said he would lay down in front of Cintra’s construction vehicles two years ago, really did lay down in front of a one-vehicle Lincoln Navigator parade led by toll lane impresario Javier Tobasco-Sose.

Bologna was squished to death, and Tobasco-Sose was drowned when the toll lane collapsed beneath the weight of the Navigator. Local officials said they would direct police to pull Tobasco-Sose and the Navy blue SUV out of Lake Norman at their earliest convenience. Emergency trucks are too heavy for the toll lanes.

New Parade April 12


The Military Drone Parade will be restaged in two weeks.

“We will launch our drones again at the Yuri Gargarin Parade April 12,” the former mayor of Cornelius said from his office in Raleigh. Gargarin, the first person in outer space, will be honored with a parade across the Exit 28 bridge exactly 57 years after his historic flight April 12, 1961.

NCDOT is greasing the iconic masts at Exit 28, not because anyone will climb them during the parade, but because the agency can purchase grease from a Russian oligarch who is building a mixed-use project on the island in Lake Norman adjacent to what was formerly known as The Sandbar.

Economic boom forecast

Economic development officials said the island, which will have a Dunkin Donuts with a boat-up window, will be a launching point for a ferry that will take local people to the toll lanes to dive for coins thrown by well-to-do passersby.

The ferry will help diversify Cornelius’ economic base of nail shops and fast food, officials in Raleigh said, explaining that they did not do an economic impact study on toll lanes here because they did not know where here was from about 1970 to 2016.

“Who needs an economic impact study when we will have people throwing coins in the lake?” an NCDOT spokesman said.

—Peter Cotton-Tail contributed to this story which has been Certified Organic by the Online Web Warden (OWW)