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Cornelius News

W. Catawba ridiculousness, Part 9

June 14. [Updated] By Dave Vieser. A $380,000 computerized traffic signal control system once hailed as “the answer” to heavy West Catawba Avenue traffic was quietly ditched last year by the Town of Cornelius. The system, known as Rhythm In-Sync, was supposedly designed to offer superior traffic light cycle timing based on real-time traffic, with conditions monitored by a series of cameras in each signal.

However, the system, first installed in 2016, did not live up to expectations.

Pulling the plug

“There were signal-to-signal communication issues, causing the signals to get out of sync which lead to significant backups and gridlock,” said Assistant Town Manager Tyler Beardsley. “These issues were ongoing, and Rhythm’s response did not meet NCDOT’s and the Town’s expectations.”

Due to these concerns, Beardsley said the system was deactivated last year.


Former Cornelius Town Commissioner Kurt Naas had strongly advocated for the system, and company officials pointed to their signals on Hwy. 17 near Charleston, SC as a shining example. However, Cornelius traffic apparently proved to be too troublesome. Naas could not be reached for comment.


The town paid $152,000 for the system, while the DOT contributed $161,000. Rhythm paid the remaining $235,000 to try and get a foothold in the North Carolina market.

Since last year, the West Catawba Avenue corridor (Hwy. 21 to Jetton) has been operating on NCDOT’s signal timing, which uses detectors on both main and cross streets to reflect volume and change signals as needed.

[UPDATE June 15] Town Manager Andrew Grant said the Town of Cornelius actually spent $146,000, NCDOT $161,000, while Rhythm contributed $72,000 for a total of $380,000.