From correspondent Tammy Grubb:
The Carrboro aldermen are poised to approve a plan later this month to widen Smith Level Road from the town limits south of Woodcrest Drive to the Morgan Creek Bridge.
The Sept. 28 decision is pending an N.C. Department of Transportation review of how a construction easement on Smith Level Road may affect residents of a senior care center near the Culbreth Road intersection. DOT officials also will look at trading a planned sidewalk north of Willow Oak Lane for one between Woodcrest and Ray roads. That sidewalk could connect one day with a planned greenway from Southern Village.
Tuesday night’s meeting continued a June public hearing at which dozens of neighbors called on DOT to limit the effects of a wider road and preserve the area’s natural setting. Town and DOT officials met Aug. 30 to discuss changes to the $3.5 million project. DOT officials agreed to most of the proposals, including building traditional sidewalks with curbs and gutters along Smith Level Road, north of BPW Club Road. The change will trim the project’s footprint by about 26 feet, officials said, although the town will have to pay to move the curbs and gutters if officials seek a future expansion.
The revised plan also shows additional sidewalk connections, pedestrian islands and a roundabout instead of a traffic light near Carrboro High School.
However, DOT officials reaffirmed their plan to end left turns from Willow Oak Lane to Smith Level Road despite citizen and town concerns.
Many residents who spoke Tuesday said they were happy with the state’s response. The plan calls for dividing Smith Level Road with a grass median from the Morgan Creek Bridge crossing to BPW Club Road. At that point, a center turn lane replaces the median south to Rock Haven Road, near Carrboro High School.
Once the board approves the project, DOT officials said it will take about eight months to buy the necessary right of way.