Obelisk next step for Bermuda Run roundabout

Published 9:15 am Thursday, January 21, 2016

BERMUDA RUN – The town council needed to get one more resolution approved for the U.S. 158 roundabout project – this one supporting the town’s application to NCDOT for public art in the center of the circle.

The public art is a 15-foot-obelisk that Bermuda Run decided to add.

“When we began the process of discussions with DOT and the Metropolitan Planning Organization for the roundabout, even within the conceptual drawing, there was art work, if you will – a vertical visual to the roundabout,” Town Manager Lee Rollins said. “And now that we have come close to 99.9 percent completion of the roundabout, it is now up to town council to decide if they want to continue to move forward with the proposed art work that DOT considers within their right of way.”

A resolution was required to request approval from the DOT at the town’s expense, which was $50,000 in the 2016 budget. It passed 3-1 with councilman Ed Coley voting against it.

By approving the resolution, it will go back to the DOT, and Rollins is unsure of the timetable for the start of construction involving the obelisk, which was designed by Scott Miller of Miller Landscape Architecture in Winston-Salem.

When it became part of the project, Rollins said that it fit in with the adoption of the Comprehensive Plan in 2012 and town’s desire to enhance, where it is economically feasible, the visual identity of Bermuda Run and Davie County. And from a functional standpoint, the obelisk provides a visual break to aid in slowing vehicles down as they enter the roundabout.

By definition, an obelisk is an upright four-sided pillar that gradually tapers as it rises and typically terminates in a pyramid.

Near the top of the Bermuda Run obelisk is a cupola with a blue heron, the town logo. The heron relates to Bermuda Run and Davie County’s tie to the Yadkin River and wildlife. The cupola represents Bermuda Run and Davie County’s agricultural and village heritage.

There is a stone base and retaining wall with a 12-inch diameter “Town of Bermuda Run” seal etched onto a bronze plate, topped by a vertical brick column that leads up to the cupola with a copper roof and a weather vane at the summit. It will be surrounded by a lawn and landscaped area.

Ironically, the other action item on the agenda in last Tuesday night’s meeting, another resolution – this one supporting the town’s application for funding of the Blue Heron Trail through the Winston-Salem MPO 2016 Call for Projects – was approved by a 4-0 margin.

The Blue Heron Trail was approved for funding through the Winston-Salem MPO, but during an audit of STP-DA funds, it was discovered that the MPO had approved projects where actual funding was not available. These projects were asked to resubmit proposals.

If approved, and the town moves forward with the process(like was done with the roundabout), Rollins said he would come to the council for an amendment to set up a project budget ordinance that would include a 20 percent match from the town.

The project estimate for the multi-use greenway is $1.8 million.

“Currently, it is not in this year’s budget,” Rollins said. “It wouldn’t be for this year’s budget anyway.”

In other discussion:

• During council comments, John Guglielmi asked if it might be possible for Ashley Furniture trucks to use the Farmington Road exit off I-40 instead of NC 801 to help relieve some of the congestion through that interchange.

“I didn’t know if that was possible,” Guglielmi said. “I’m sure they realize the problems we have at the 801/158 intersection. It’s just awfully busy.”

• Councilwoman Shirley Cagle on the roundabout: “I have a good comment. I had a person who lives in Bermuda Run who has children who play soccer and who came to tell me in person that the roundabout is the best thing we ever did. So that balances out all the people I had who said we were crazy.”

• Mayor Ken Rethmeier on the roundabout: “I think it’s just a matter of time for folks to understand how you navigate it. You don’t have to just stop. … It’s the calming of traffic and the speed, and it has definitely accomplished that.”

• Rollins said that he was excited to get the news last week about receiving DOT funding for the widening of I-40 between Harper Road and NC 801. Rollins added he would be working with Division 9 DOT on the timeline. “My understanding is that it will mirror the number of lanes that you see from Harper Road through Clemmons to Winston,” he said.