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Cornelius News

Transportation board will look at Diverging Diamond congestion


Dec. 29. By Dave Vieser. The Cornelius Transportation Advisory Board (TAB) has plans to review traffic on the Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI) at Exit 28 after congestion in December caught the attention of the Town of Cornelius.

“The town has had several conversations with Rhythm Engineering over the last couple weeks,” said Tyler Beardsley, assistant town manager. “They are fully aware of the congestion and have been monitoring traffic around the DDI.”

The bridge, with its not-quite distinctive mast and sails, was conceived as a gateway that would help “brand” Cornelius as a lake town.

Major backups occurred on both the northbound and southbound exit ramps from I-77 as well as on Catawba Avenue.

Rhythm made some changes on Dec. 17 but by the next week traffic was backing up in all directions, including Torrence Chapel Road north to Knox Road.

Traffic volume

Beardsley said the main issue is volume, which was unusually high in December and the need for the bookend improvements.

“The signals can only do so much when volume is over capacity,” he said.

Technically, the interchange is under the control of NCDOT, working with Rhythm Engineering’s computer/camera driven traffic signal system.

The major design problem is that the distance between the I-77 ramps and the intersections of Hwy. 21 on the east and Torrence Chapel/Liverpool Parkway on the west is too short for an ideal DDI operation.

This causes traffic to bog down on both sides of the bridge as well as the northbound I 77 exit ramp.

This is expected to be solved permanently when the new roundabouts are built, which is currently scheduled in 2022.

However, the TAB will investigate to see if there is anything that can be done in the short term to reduce the congestion.

Meeting Jan. 5

The TAB January meeting will be a virtual meeting, to be held Tuesday Jan. 5, 2021, at 6 pm. To view the meeting, go to www.cornelius.org, then open the agenda list and connect to the zoom link next to the Transportation Advisory Board agenda


7 Responses to “Transportation board will look at Diverging Diamond congestion”

  1. We must remember that this intersection and “Bridge” was Tom Tillis’s idea of making Cornelius a ‘destination‘ .. it looks like that has been successful given the amount of traffic congestion everyday! Not just December!

    Posted by Nancy Brand | December 29, 2020, 2:36 pm
    • US Sen. Thom Tillis began his political career in Cornelius in 2002 when he pushed for a local bike trail and was elected to the town’s park board. He ran for Town Commission in 2003 and tied for second place. After a two-year term as town commissioner, Tillis ran for the NC General Assembly in 2006, so he was actually long gone from the local decision-making scene when the Diverging Diamond at Exit 28 came about.

      Posted by Newsroom | December 30, 2020, 10:29 am
  2. From my observation how you guys build your roundabouts they really don’t work. I have traveled around the European countries and you just don’t make them big enough here. You might as well put stop signs up. The traffic from the main road just over powers the side roads cause the circles are not big enough to allow cars to flow into the circle comfortably without stopping the other incoming cars into the roundabout. I’ve seen it all over the state, you don’t make them big enough.

    Posted by Gerald Altman | December 29, 2020, 10:13 pm
  3. It’s much more fun to drive the roundabouts in the UK. They are clockwise.

    Posted by James Simpson | December 30, 2020, 10:36 am
  4. it has never made sense to attempt to improve traffic flow by designing the traffic lanes of opposite directions to cross each other by intersection. Whoever designed this and whoever approved it are not concerned about improving traffic flow. And yes, the traffic circles around here are not large enough to allow traffic t flow in a reasonable manner. untold millions of taxpayer dollars wasted on impediment, not improvement

    Posted by Don | December 30, 2020, 8:31 pm
  5. The biggest failure was approving the retail center off Knox rd. There was no foresight or planning for how Cornelius should grow and look in the future. 10 years ago a master plan should have been developed. Cornelius has lost all identity. Now we are just another exit 36. Kudos to Davidson for thinking long term and building a town with identity.

    Posted by Dan Wold | December 31, 2020, 9:26 am
  6. Eliminate the crisscross put 28 east 28 west exits on 77. Or Eliminate the ridiculous crisscross and add large round about at 21 and Torrance Chapel. Why is that so complicated?

    Posted by Rick marchelo | January 1, 2021, 2:44 pm

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