Want I-77 widened? It's time to tell N.C. DOT

Imagine driving home from Charlotte on Interstate 77 and going the speed limit the whole time. No more taking 15 to 20 minutes to drive the five miles from Exit 23 to Exit 28.

There's a chance I-77 may be widened up to Exit 28, but we'll need to help.

The N.C. Department of Transportation recognizes the need, but widening from I-485 all the way to I-40 has been projected to cost more than $200 million. As a result, N.C. DOT pushed widening our part of I-77 out 20 years.

With some persuasion from local officials, however, and some creative thinking from the state Secretary of Transportation's office and DOT's division office in Albemarle, we may see a third lane up our way on I-77.

The plan is to continue the managed lanes from I-485 north to Exit 28. The existing High Occupancy Vehicle lanes will be converted to High Occupancy Toll lanes.

Vehicles carrying more than one person will still be able to ride in the HOT lanes for free, but a single-occupant vehicle can ride in the HOT lane by paying a toll. Revenues generated by the HOT lane will help pay for the widening project.

Since money is limited, N.C. DOT needs to hear how important this project is to us.

If you're in favor of this project, e-mail Barry Moose, division engineer in N.C. DOT's Albemarle office, at bmoose@ and tell him Cornelius needs I-77 widened.

Lions work Earth Day

The Cornelius/Lake Norman Lions Club celebrated Earth Day on April 22 by cleaning up at Cornelius Elementary School.

Members cleaned up the playground, main and side entrances and associated walkways. The Lions Club service project benefits the community and follows Cornelius Principal James Garvin's initiative of forming partnerships with Cornelius community service groups.

Angelo Lorusso, president of the Cornelius/Lake Norman Lions Club, said, "This project will show the Cornelius community our (Lions Club) commitment to serving others." He also thanked everyone who contributed, especially the Cornelius Ace Hardware.

The Cornelius/Lake Norman Lions Club meets the first and third Tuesdays of each month at the Cookhouse restaurant in Cornelius. Club members identify needs within the community and work together to fulfill those needs. Call Lorusso at 704-962-7576.

Senior Strollers

Join the new Senior Strollers Walking Club, a program for senior adults to socialize with their peers and enjoy fitness at the same time.

Through a partnership between the Cornelius PARC Department and the North Mecklenburg Senior Center, this club will meet for the first time at 8 a.m. May 18 on the playground by the tennis courts at Bailey Road Park. Wear comfy shoes and clothing.

Call Ryan Wertz at 704-896-2460, ext. 188.

Hershey's Track and Field event

The Cornelius PARC and Huntersville Parks and Recreation departments are bringing the Hershey's Track and Field Games program to Bailey Road Park track starting at 9 a.m. Saturday.

This nationally affiliated program introduces athletes ages 9-14 to physical fitness. Events include dashes, relays, standing long jump and softball throw.

Participants can enter up to three events each: Two track and one field or one track and two field.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., and young athletes will need to bring birth certificates. The event is free, and no special equipment is required; in particular, track shoes are not allowed. Winners can move on to higher competition levels.

Call the Cornelius PARC Department at 704-892-6031, ext. 165, or the Huntersville Parks and Recreation Department at 704-766-2220.