Dr. Traffic

State road project would address congestion on West Catawba Avenue

The stretch of West Catawba Avenue between Jetton and Sam Furr roads is expected to look more like this one when a proposed state improvement project is completed. A public meeting on the project is scheduled for June 21.
The stretch of West Catawba Avenue between Jetton and Sam Furr roads is expected to look more like this one when a proposed state improvement project is completed. A public meeting on the project is scheduled for June 21.

Here’s your chance to speak your mind about bottlenecks on West Catawba Avenue and new traffic since the opening of Mecklenburg County’s new swimming beach at Ramsey Creek Park.

A public meeting is scheduled for Tuesday on N.C. Department of Transportation’s plan to widen West Catawba Avenue from two lanes to four from Jetton Road to the north of Sam Furr Road in Cornelius.

The drop-in meeting will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. at Cornelius Town Hall, 21445 West Catawba Ave. No formal presentation is planned. Officials will share details about the state’s plans and get comments from citizens, according to a notice from N.C. DOT.

Traffic levels already exceed capacity on Catawba Avenue and are expected to worsen significantly by 2035. Exact figures on traffic volumes were not immediately available.

New development is expected to result in longer travel times, more frequent crashes, and conditions that are dangerous for passing, N.C. DOT estimates.

“It’s a commonly known fact that the road needs to be widened,” said Andrew Grant, assistant town manager in Cornelius. “I know it’s a concern amongst the business community and the residents in terms of having the road improved.”

The widening project would pick up where an earlier, similar project ended. In 2009, the state completed a project that widened West Catawba to four lanes between Jetton Road and Interstate 77.

With the opening of the beach at Ramsey Creek Park, residents complained about heavy traffic and inadequate parking. Hundreds of vehicles crammed streets and driveways near the park entrance.

Karen Sullivan: kmsulliv@charlotteobserver.com, @Sullivan_kms

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