DOT project cause for concern for Cornelius restaurant owner

CORNELIUS, NC (WBTV) - Joel Pfyffer has already seen his restaurant, Prosciutto's Pizzeria and Pub, suffer with the construction on I-77 causing major traffic backups, but now he worries another DOT project could sink his business.

Right now, the North Carolina Department of Transportation is in the process of finalizing a plan, which would add roundabouts to Torrence Chapel Road, but prohibit left turns out of that road onto West Catawba Avenue.

Pfyffer's restaurant is on Torrence Chapel Road.

"[The plan] would obviously impede traffic to shopping malls like this," Pfyffer said.

Jen Thompson, a DOT spokesperson, says people will still be able to drive to Pfyffer's restaurant once the project is complete.

"It's not going to be a case where it's completely inaccessible. It's just going to take one or two extra turns," Thompson said.

Pfyffer says these one or two extra turns will hurt his business.

Already, he says traffic on I-77 has a negative effect, and this newest project will pile on to that.

"People won't come down exits to come to my restaurant," Pfyffer said.

Neighbors, too, are not happy about this project.

Kenyon Stanley lives near Pfyffer's restaurant. He says this project will make a messy traffic situation even worse, especially in residential areas.

"This is going to filter more of this traffic both during construction and after, because it's going to create a mess," Stanley said.

Thompson tells WBTV this project will ease congestion when it's all said and done.

"This is a spot safety project that we're working on with the Town of Cornelius to improve traffic flow," Thompson said.

In the meantime, Pfyffer says he is left worrying about the future of his restaurant.

He has owned it for around 12 years, and is afraid this project will cost him everything he has worked for in that time.

"It's frustrating to have worked hard on your business, and to have your main nemesis not be competition, not be self-inflicted, but to come from the North Carolina Department of Transportation," Pfyffer said.

The project could be finalized by the end of the year.

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