Lake Norman & Mooresville

When you build it, they will come in cars

America's Park, which will be opening sometime in 2012, is projected to bring 80,000 baseball players, coaches and family members to the area.

Many of them will come by car, and some people are wondering if Mooresville can handle the increase in traffic.

"It will bring in some additional traffic, but the town and N.C. DOT have determined this would be primarily a managed off-peak use," said Mooresville Transportation Planner Neil Burke.

The $20 million complex, located on 170 acres on Rankin Hill Road, will have 25 lighted ball fields, 60 cabins to house players, laundry facility, dining hall and concession stands.

According to Burke, at other similar facilities run by the owners of America's Park, tournaments have been scheduled so that traffic flow into and out of the park doesn't coincide with peak traffic times.

Hopefully, this means that snarled traffic will be kept to a minimum.

Also, Burke said that to better accommodate traffic, the N.C. Department of Transportation will make improvements to the intersection of Judas and Cornelius roads. This will include a left-turn lane on southbound Judas Road and a right-turn lane on westbound Cornelius Road.

In addition, he anticipates that N.C. DOT will incorporate left-turn lanes at the three access points on Rankin Hill Road.

Once America's Park is open, N.C. DOT will re-evaluate these areas to see if a traffic light is needed.

Any congestion could be alleviated by a possible new exit on Interstate 77 at Cornelius Road.

"An interchange has been a priority for Mooresville for quite a while," said Burke. "But right now there is no funding for it."

But there is hope, according to Burke, every two years the N.C. DOT allows towns to recommend new projects, and then the state prioritizes projects.

So there's a chance that it may become a priority. If that happens, it's just the beginning.

For the interchange to become reality, a myriad of organizations including the city of Mooresville, N.C. DOT and the Federal Highway Administration all have to work together.

Once all that comes together, Burke estimates it could still take up to two years for the interchange to be completed once ground is broken.

As for the exit number? The N.C. DOT hasn't released it yet.

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