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Cornelius News

Traffic study offers Hwy. 115 corridor options

Sept. 22. By Dave Vieser. More than 100 people came to Town Hall to this week to look at traffic options designed to relieve congestion on Main Street, between Washam Potts Road and Potts Street. The meeting was one phase of a comprehensive $143,367 traffic study of this portion of Hwy. 115 being conducted by WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff.

“Hwy 115 in Cornelius is a rather unique situation,” said WSP’s Senior Transportation Planner Richard Odynski. Combining retail, residential, commercial, even a railroad within close proximity, are challenging from a planning perspective.

“One of the study’s goals is to evaluate alternatives to improving transportation for vehicles, bikes, and pedestrians along the corridor,” Odynski said.

The 115 corridor often becomes congested when it is used as an alternative for north/south traffic during times of delays or incidents on I-77.

The recent growth of the Antiquity community, along with its retail component, have added more traffic.

WSP presented four separate options at the meeting, which could improve vehicular movement while also providing a safe conduit for both pedestrians and bicyclists.

Option One: This option would only impact driveways entering Main Street/115, making them either right in/right out, closing them completely, or remaining as is.

Option Two: Railroad Street would be realigned and both the Food Lion and Ace Hardware entrances would be redesigned and signalized.

Option Three: This option would be similar to option two, adding left turn restrictions at the 115/Catawba Avenue intersection.

Option Four: There are two versions. Option 4A would add a connector road from 115 paralleling the utility lines north of Antiquity and eventually connecting to South Street north of the Antiquity Bridge. Traffic at Davidson Elementary School would be increased under this option. Option 4B would relocate the connector road so that it ran parallel to the railroad track, reconnecting to Hwy. 115 at the Twin Oaks Road intersection. This option would increase traffic through a residential area.

“We also have room for a fifth option,” said Odynski. It could be a hybrid combination of the first four or “something completely different,” he said. “That’s why we wanted to meet with the residents and get their ideas.”

Commissioners Jim Duke, Mike Miltich and Woody Washam all attended the meeting. Miltich urged residents to seriously consider all options. “I know some won’t like the connector road concept but too often in the past, we’ve built first, then tried to catch up with adequate roads. Let’s think outside of the box.”

WSP engineers will spend the next month assimilating the comments from residents and eventually developing a fifth option, which they hope to present to the town board within two months.

According to town planner Jason Pauling, the total cost for the 115 feasibility study is $143,367, of which Cornelius is covering up to 25% or $35,842. The Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization is funding the remainder.