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Cornelius News

Towns seek answers on I-77 toll lane letters

Aug. 10. It’s been almost a year and a half since the NCDOT asked towns like Cornelius and Huntersville to outline suggested changes in the 50-year CINTRA I-77 toll lane contract. To date, they have received no response from the state and that has elected officials extremely concerned especially since a decision on the future of the contract will be forthcoming soon.

An independent review criticizes the the NCDOT for lack of public engagement in the I-77 project. The Mercator review says several jurisdictions responded with suggestions and questions in March 2016, “but NCDOT did not provide any formal response.”

The resulting public furor has brought down a variety of public officials, ranging from the mayor of Huntersville to the sitting governor, Pat McCrory.

At their meeting Aug. 7, the Cornelius Town Board adopted a resolution asking DOT Secretary Trogdon to arrange a meeting in Cornelius so their questions can finally be addressed, before a final decision on the contract is made. Commissioner Dr. Mike Miltich offered the resolution.

“Time is running out and we need answers,” Miltich said. Commissioner Dave Gilroy agreed. “As I recall putting those questions together and drafting that letter was quite an exercise, so I am in favor of this.”

Mayor Pro Tem Woody Washam suggested that the town also contact Huntersville and Davidson to look into setting up a regional meeting, since many of the concerns expressed by all three towns were similar.

There shouldn’t be any resistance from Huntersville. Mayor John Anarella is already on record as being “very concerned” about the failure of the DOT to respond to the correspondence.

The letters containing suggested contract changes were originally requested by the McCrory administration on Feb. 17 2016, and neither McCrory nor his DOT Secretary ever responded with detailed answers.

Political analysts continue to suggest that the manner in which the toll lane controversy was handled by McCrory, a Republican, ultimately cost him tens of thousands of votes in the Lake Norman area and probably the election last November.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to incorrect information given to Cornelius Today, an earlier version of this article stated incorrectly that the North Tarrant Expressway in Texas, another CINTRA related project, had filed bankruptcy.

Discussion

One Response to “Towns seek answers on I-77 toll lane letters”

  1. The problem is, NCDOT is doing nothing about semi-expansion. We have the highest semi-use in the state on I77. There is no traffic study nor are there alternatives planned north and south to bypass I77 which is four local towns main access road. We are land-locked by multiple bodies of water. This project is anything but a project that “improves mobility and provides long term traffic manament strategies.” Its making traffic worse during construction and will continue to do so if completed. This is an inhumane and dangerous plan. NCDOT can’t even get reality right on the construction zone! They say there are no issues. They are in denial. But the state insurance carriers must take a look at this project, because the merging from both right and left into two lanes of traffic will be deadly.

    Despite Cornelius Commissioner’s requests there have not been lane-merge analysis studies for a two-lane interstate completed. This is an experiment. We are not lab rats. We are humans with families and loved ones. NCDOT needs to stop being led by the nose by Parsons Brinkerhoff. And get boots on the ground.

    I challenge NCDOT execs to drive exits 16-36 on I77, in both directions, during rush hour and on weekends for two weeks.

    The NCDOT response: “The North Tarrant Express and LBJ Express are examples of successful Cintra projects in the US. Accelerated construction and rehabilitation of a 26-mile corridor that improves mobility and provides long term traffic management strategies at a relatively low cost to the state is a successful I-77 project.”

    Posted by Anette Powell | August 10, 2017, 2:42 pm

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