Initial Bermuda Run traffic study released

Published 9:43 am Thursday, August 25, 2016

BERMUDA RUN – Ready for another roundabout?

That’s certainly a possibility as Jonathan Guy from Kimley Horn, a design consulting firm, told the Bermuda Run Town Council last Tuesday night in a report on the Transportation Feasibility Study that began in March 2015.

Guy gave his presentation in a Davie County commissioners meeting in July and then came to Bermuda Run to provide an update.

Just last year, Bermuda Run completed a roundabout on US 158 entering the town from Clemmons. Now, a second one is under consideration at the increasingly busy US 158/NC 801 intersection.

“It would be an oversized circle with dual circulating lanes around each direction,” Guy said. “Wells Fargo is something that would have to go. It would have to be relocated. We have considered truck traffic volume as it is laid out to accommodate very large vehicles.”

The county commissioners had requested the study to alleviate some of the truck traffic generated by Ashley Furniture, which continues to grow at its Baltimore Road location.

Trucks now go toward Farmington Road or N.C. 801.

Extending Baltimore Road to the interstate and adding an interchange along I-40 between exits 174 (Farmington Road) and 180 (N.C. 801) are components being explored to help with the truck traffic and increasing congestion in the area.

Recommendations on Farmington Road include three lanes from I-40 past the entrance to the new high school and perhaps adding roundabouts on each side of the interstate.

Guy said that he recalled coming to the first meeting in Bermuda Run and was surprised how things have changed in a short period of time in the town.

“It was like, wow, I was shocked at traffic that I’ve seen here at peak hour,” he said. “It did not align with what I had conceived in my mind as how the patterns would be. It was coming in all directions. It wasn’t just coming from the interstate. It was coming in every single direction. It was contrary to what I thought.”

A roundabout, Guy speculated, “would work very well. It would be a big circle and move traffic in a very uniform and orderly manner.”

Guy added that another thing Kimley Horn researched, on behalf of the town, was looking at ways to make Bermuda Run more pedestrian friendly in the area near I-40.

“There’s a fantastic network of sidewalks over here at the hospital, and we want to see  how can we route and connect up both sides of the interstate with a walking trail,” he said.

As for a timeline, Guy said that the goal is to submit the information to the technical steering committee and that, hopefully, by the end of August the county will have a chance to review it. Next, he said, would be a public meeting, perhaps by the end of September.

“Then, it’s the NCDOT, and that’s the big mystery,” Guy said. “I wouldn’t expect them to get back to us until the end of the year. So we’re probably looking at 2017.”

Then, there’s the matter of funding.

“The great thing is you are starting from a position of power with the study in place, and you already have data,” Guy said.

The council also:

• Heard from town manager Lee Rollins, who said he will be getting cost estimates for a sidewalk that would connect Old Towne Drive off Yadkin Valley Road down to the N.C. 801 intersection so that the residents on the north side of I-40 could walk or ride bikes to the hospital complex.

Also, he said that toward the end of the year he expected to move forward with a request for a proposal for a pedestrian bridge that would replace the current bridge behind WinMock. That would be done as preparations are made for the widening of I-40 from Exit 180 back toward Harper Road.

Rollins added that construction estimates should be available in the 60 days for the Blue Heron Trial.

• Heard from Mayor Ken Rethmeier, who gave an update on his continuing concerns over speeding in Bermuda Run after asking NCDOT to do a study.

Rethmeier said that the findings were the result of using a single variable model to determine an average speed of nearly 55 mph, which is close to 9 mph above the posted speed limit of 45 mph on U.S. 158.

“I questioned the issue with NCDOT, and the answer was that this is not a speed problem, and that it was an enforcement problem.” Rethmeier said. “Well, we’ve been told numerous times by the county that they will not provide speed enforcement. Mr. Rollins has contacted and periodically gotten the support of state troopers. You may recall our original request and intent was to set speed limits in the town limits at 35 mph unless otherwise posted.”

Councilman John Guglielmi then added: “The county has said they would not do speed enforcement, so what difference does it make if we reduce it to 35 and they don’t enforce it? People still drive 55.”

Rethmeier said that the town was “not going to give up on this issue. We will continue to fight it.”

In another item, the mayor said he learned on the day of last week’s meeting that Bank of America was planning to close its branch office at the Kinderton Place shopping center, which is anchored by Lowes Foods, on N.C. 801 near I-40.