Cornelius leaders discuss solutions to traffic headache

by: Tina Terry Updated:

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CORNELIUS, N.C. - A major construction project off of Interstate 77 is causing a huge headache for thousands of drivers.

For months, the Department of Transportation has been renovating a bridge at West Catawba Avenue and I-77 in Cornelius and Channel 9 spoke to city leaders who say the project has become a public safety hazard.

There are yellow cones and construction equipment all over the place on West Catawba Ave. and traffic in both directions often is reduced to one lane. That is causing major traffic jams that leaders say could be dangerous.

“There are no words to describe how frustrating it is to come down 77, sit in that traffic just to get on this," said one driver.

"I've been stuck in it for like 40 minutes. It was bad. I even made a U-turn to turn around go to another side," said another motorist.

To see how long the waits are, Channel 9 shot video of a drive from Torrence Chapel Road to Statesville Road on the other side of the bridge. A drive that should have taken just five minutes took twice as long -- nearly 11 minutes.

Some town leaders are frustrated with the gridlock and DOT’s progress. They say the problem could amplify when school starts, and could even pose public safety issues.

On Monday, town leaders met with DOT officials in hopes of finding a solution.

The mayor said the town would even consider paying DOT whatever it took to get the project done faster.

DOT officials were not available for comment Saturday, but the project doesn't seem to be behind schedule. DOT has said November of this year is the earliest time this project could wrap up.

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