New traffic pattern causes confusion for some drivers

by: Torie Wells Updated:

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HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. - Many drivers are confused about how to use a new traffic pattern at a major intersection in Huntersville.

Eyewitness News showed the new layout for Sam Furr and Statesville roads last week and since then, people have emailed, saying it has created a new problem nearby.

“There you have it right there, the light is green so they are coming through,” said Connye Cross, owner of Uncommon Scents in Huntersville.

Cross’ business is in the middle of the NorthCross Shopping Center. But ever since a new traffic pattern in Huntersville started, she said her view has been nothing but cars.

“We have our little highway right here,” Cross said.

The new traffic pattern is at the intersection of N.C. 73 and U.S. 21. It is supposed to decrease congestion by getting rid of some left turns and help people get in and out of some nearby businesses.

For example, someone going east who wants to take a left will continue straight and then take two rights. Someone going west will take a left early and then turn left again. So far, that is not what everyone is doing.

“People were coming up here, getting confused,” said Bill Coxe, Huntersville Transportation Planner.

Coxe has seen many people take a left and cut through the shopping center. In less than an hour, Eyewitness News saw dozens of drivers do that and a handful of people make U-turns. It is not illegal, but it is creating congestion for the businesses it was supposed to help.

“It has, in the last two weeks, affected the business,” Cross said.

On Thursday, Coxe said almost no one was using the new traffic pattern. On Monday, he saw a change.

“About half the people are doing what you want them to do,” he said.

Coxe hopes drivers continue to catch on so the state doesn’t have to take action that would make the plaza less accessible.

“If that starts to back up on 73, the fear is the NCDOT will close that median opening,” Coxe said.

“We (have) just got to keep waiting it out,” Cross said. “There’s a positive end to this.”

Eyewitness News asked NCDOT if it was planning to make any changes to the traffic pattern. A spokesperson said it is too early for that. It will continue to monitor the traffic and expects it to take drivers a few weeks to get used to it all.