The Board of Aldermen approved a $3.5 million plan Tuesday to widen Smith Level Road, adding bike lanes and sidewalks from the Morgan Creek bridge to Woodcrest Street near the town limits.
The state Department of Transportation will cover much of the project’s cost using Transportation Improvement Program money. The town will pay a 30 percent match toward the cost of sidewalk construction, or roughly $55,000.
Tuesday’s 6-1 vote approves a compromise that envisions a two-lane road divided by a landscaped median from the Morgan Creek bridge to BPW Club Road. At that point, the DOT will build a center turn lane south to Rock Haven Road and Carrboro High School. Alderman Joal Hall Broun voted against the plan.
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A year after Carrboro officials vetoed a $6.6 million state plan to four-lane a busy stretch of Smith Level Road, NCDOT proposed today to build what Carrboro wants: added sidewalks and bike lanes, but no added lanes for automobiles.
If Carrboro agrees, DOT will:
- Replace a traffic signal with a traffic roundabout at the Smith Level intersection with Rock Haven Road (the entrance road for Carrboro High School)
- Make Smith Level two lanes wide with a center turn lane north from Rock Haven to BPW Club Road
- Make Smith Level two lanes with a grass median and 8-foot shoulders north from BPW Club Road to the bridge over Morgan Creek (which is just south of the N.C. 54 Bypass)
- Build bike lanes and sidewalks on both sides of Smith Level, and extending sidewalks onto Culbreth Road to meet the spot where Culbreth sidewalks end now. ... [MORE]
No, really. Our DOT said that. But there’s a catch.
The Carrboro aldermen last week rejected a DOT plan to widen a short stretch of Smith Level Road on the south side of town. The DOT plan also would add sidewalks and bike lanes and a roundabout at the Rock Haven Road -- the busy entrance road to Carrboro High School.
Carrboro liked most of the plan, which has been hashed over for quite a few years. But the town balked at widening Smith Level to four lanes between BPW Club Road and the Morgan Creek bridge, less than a half mile.
At a meeting Tuesday, DOT offered Carrboro three options:
(1) accept the DOT proposal, unlikely because it means reversing a 5-to-1 vote against it;
(2) scrap the road project and start all over with a new plan for sidewalks and bike lanes, starting a process that would take years with uncertain prospect of success, or
(3) let DOT build the road pretty much to Carrboro’s specifications – and then give this portion of Smith Level Road over to the town.
Option 3 means Carrboro can have its way -- if it is willing to take on the cost of maintaining this short stretch, less than a mile in all, of Smith Level Road in the future. Pothole patching, lane striping, repaving whenever the asphalt wears out, even widening it if Carrboro ever recognizes that necessity. ... [MORE]