A strange new traffic pattern is now open at the intersection of NC-73 and U.S. 21 in Huntersville.
The state Department of Transportation said it will reduce congestion by getting rid of some left turns. At noon Thursday, traffic was running smoothly, but there was some obvious confusion.
Cones still line the lanes where the newly painted road lines direct drivers through the interchange. DOT officials said getting rid of some left turns and using connector roads will keep traffic moving and prevent backups that had at times extended to Interstate 77.
Left turns at the main intersection were eliminated. Instead, connector streets are used to keep the traffic moving. A driver headed east wanting to take a left will continue straight and then take two rights. A driver headed west will take a left early and then turn left again.
There are also new concrete medians that prevent people from making left turns along Sam Furr Road.
“It’s kind of an issue not to be able to take a left out of our neighborhood,” said Caroline Hicks, a resident.
The new traffic pattern is part of the NC-73 widening project, which is scheduled to be completed next month. That means crews are still working to monitor signal timing, as well as adding another traffic light, more signs and pavement markers.
John Cadolino, who owns the Bagel Bin and sees many people who will use the interchange during their morning drives, said the confusion and frustration is clear.
“The initial response is some anger. Some customers are upset. No one likes change, but you have to give it some time,” he said.
DOT officials said there will also be an increased police presence in the area over the next few weeks to help people navigate the new traffic pattern.