Residents concerned town's main road is a safety hazard

by: Holly Maynard Updated:


CORNELIUS, N.C. - Cornelius residents told Eyewitness News the intersection of Nantz Road and Catawba Avenue is dangerous and it's only a matter of time before someone gets hurt.

Roger Morris, who has lived on Nantz Road for decades, said the problems there are worst on the weekends in the summer when people visit the lake.

Ramsey Creek Park, where boaters have access to the lake, is on Nantz Road.

Morris said it can take a long time for cars from Nantz Road to get onto Catawba Avenue because Catawba is so busy.

“I'll probably sit here as long as five minutes, at times," he said.

Morris also said cars often speed because traffic on Catawba isn't forced to stop for about a mile. There is a stoplight at Jetton Road which is east of Nantz Road and one at Westmoreland Road, west of Nantz Road.

“It's a danger," Morris said.

Boaters leaving Ramsey Creek Park have perhaps the hardest time leaving that intersection.

“You've got a longer rig to get out in front of the traffic, plus you can't accelerate with a big heavy boat, but you kind of just have to be bold," said John Gillette, who was taking a boat out on the lake when an Eyewitness News crew interviewed him.

Cornelius town leaders said they've heard concerns from several town residents, but the NCDOT has done studies which show the intersection doesn't qualify for a stop light. Eyewitness News asked the NCDOT how many accidents have been reported there but have not heard back.

A light may be added when Catawba Avenue is widened, but that's not scheduled until 2019. The issue may also come up before then, when swimming is open to the public at Ramsey Creek Park. That is still a few years out, though.

Until then, "If you're not patient you'll be in a dangerous situation," said Gillette.

Morris added, “I just hope and pray that nobody gets hurt out here."

Morris said he plans on starting a petition now and sending a letter to NCDOT. He encourages other residents to do the same. The address is: Traffic Services, 716 West Main St., Albermarle, N.C., 28001.