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NCDOT unveils $14-million Lake Norman road project to relieve notorious bottlenecks

State highway officials on Wednesday unveiled a $14.6 million plan to relieve notorious bottlenecks off a Lake Norman Interstate 77 interchange.

Caton Construction Group Inc. of Charlottesville, Va., is scheduled to build two roundabouts near the intersection of Catawba Avenue and U.S. 21 (Statesville Road) off exit 28 in Cornelius, according to a news release by the N.C. Department of Transportation.

The intersection “experiences routine congestion and high traffic volume,” officials said in the release.

“With Interstate 77 located just west of the intersection, traffic frequently backs up to the Catawba Avenue interchange, compounding travel conditions,” according to NCDOT.

Caton Construction will build one of the roundabouts on U.S. 21 north of the Catawba Avenue intersection, state highway officials said.

Crews will build the other roundabout just to the south of the intersection, eliminating the need for left turns.

A driver turning left from Catawba Avenue to U.S. 21, for example, would turn right and make a U-turn in one of the roundabouts. The driver would then continue straight through Catawba Avenue to U.S. 21, NCDOT officials said.

“The benefits are improved safety and a less-congested ride through the area,” according to the release.

Under terms of a contract approved by the NCDOT in October, Caton can start as early as mid-March 2024 to complete the work by winter 2027.