you're reading...

Davidson News

Town boasts of economic ‘explosion’ as residents feel traffic pain


Aug. 16. By Dave Vieser. Even as the town of Cornelius cheerfully promotes an economic “explosion” on its website, residents are complaining about fast-paced growth and a lack of infrastructure that are causing continuous traffic woes.

Some of the congestion is a result of construction of toll lanes on Interstate 77. Anger over the traffic situation has already manifested itself in several protests from angry residents on the Catawba Avenue bridge over the interstate—including one in late April and another one last year—and the defeat of several politicians who have supported the toll lane project, including former Huntersville Mayor Jill Swain.

Traffic in Antiquity

A new round of traffic concerns surfaced at the Aug. 15 Cornelius Board of Commissioners meeting when Antiquity resident Giselle Massi presented a petition containing 154 signatures from residents asking the board for help with increasingly heavy traffic rumbling through the Antiquity neighborhood.

Massi, who lives on Advocates Court near the covered bridge, said the situation has become much more severe since construction began on I-77, forcing some commuters to seek alternate routes. She said the traffic volume has also increased since Harris Teeter opened at Antiquity Town Center, drawing a significant number of shoppers from Davidson on South Street into Antiquity.

“In the last six months, the roads in our neighborhood have become frighteningly unsafe as more cars and trucks are traveling with higher speed on these narrow roads,” Massi said. She’s asking the town to initiate a public education campaign to inform residents and motorists of the dangerous approach to and through the Antiquity covered bridge, and along Old Canal and South streets. She is also seeking lower speed limits, additional signage and speed bumps to slow the traffic down.

“I’m not a traffic engineer, but I have been blessed with a good deal of common sense,” Massi said, “and I fear that this situation is only going to get worse unless the town steps in now. The roads in Antiquity were never built to handle this type of traffic. Safety comes first.”

Particularly concerning is the wooden roadbed on the covered bridge. It has numerous skid marks from drivers who have experienced close calls. In response to Massi’s concerns, Cornelius Mayor Chuck Travis said the town had begun to install additional signs at the bridge indicating the wooden roadway can be extremely slippery when wet. In addition, the town has launched a traffic study to record the speeds of motorists passing through the area.

Massi is also seeking assistance from the Davidson Board of Commissioners since the issue affects both towns. Future attention from the town will also be focused on the proposed entrance to Antiquity Woods, which will have driveways directly north of the covered bridge.

‘Economic boom’

Residents’ concerns about traffic woes come at a time when town officials will be part of a panel discussion about a recent boom in economic activity in the Lake Norman area. In a posting on the town’s web site they say a “panel of experts will discuss what factors they believe are contributing to this Economic Explosion, what they need to do now and plan for in the future to ensure it continues, what they foresee is coming down the pipeline and how local and surrounding AEC firms can be part of the growth.” The AEC is part of the International Economic Development Council.


Ryan McDaniels, executive director of Lake Norman Economic Development, will serve as the moderator. Assistant Cornelius Town Manager Andrew Grant will be a panelist.

The discussion is scheduled for 11:30 am Sept. 1 at the Galway Hooker in Kenton Place. The panel will discuss factors that have contributed to the area’s economic growth and what needs to be done to ensure the expansion continues.

Donald White contributed to this story