Bermuda Run I-40 widening project nearing completion
By Jim Buice
Sometime this month, the I-40 widening project through Bermuda Run is scheduled to be completed, and Town Manager Lee Rollins again reiterated his desire to piggyback with that conclusion to taking the next step on improving the busy intersection of US 158 and NC 801.
Rollins reminded town council members that he and Mayor Rick Cross continue to be in dialogue with NCDOT about “high-impact, low-cost solutions” with the projected completion of the I-40 project approaching in September.
“Back in 2016, we actually had a transportation engineer look at the possibility of what would it take to get two lanes of traffic from Advance north toward the interstate on 801 because the way it is now, you’ve got a straight lane and a right-turn lane there at Walgreen’s,” Rollins said after the meeting. “And that turn lane is lined up visually to go straight. There have been issues for people who aren’t familiar with the area.
“That has prevented us from sort of re-striping to allow those two lanes that go through because the east bound onramp to I-40 is too short. So DOT, Pat Ivey (Division 9 engineer), to his credit, is able to appropriate in that widening project elongating that onramp. So now that that’s almost done.”
Rollins said that it was important to help alleviate issues with traffic flow at 158/801 by making incremental improvements since it will be at least 10 years before the interchange at I-40 comes online to offer another option to the west.
“It is funded, and the right of way has been acquired, but we’re trying to facilitate improvement,” he said. “It’s all perspective according on what time of day you’re going through (the 158/801 interchange). You might have a two-cycle delay. Sometimes the afternoons are worse, especially if you’re coming on 158 from Mocksville. Sometimes it backs up to Hillsdale Methodist.”
• Also in last Tuesday night’s meeting, Mayor Rick Cross said that he and Rollins have been working with the partner involved in the previous two versions of the town’s Comprehensive Plan with an eye on the upcoming update.
“Our plan is to have a copy of the proposal for the council in the next month for you all to review and for discussion, and then we’ll proceed from there,” Cross said. “Assuming a level of success, then we would plan preliminary work to begin probably in November or December.
“In the meantime, that allows me an opportunity to work with folks on putting together a community approach and campaign. We want to continue to communicate with folks as this thing is proceeding in 2022. I think it’s important that as many folks across our community as possible understand the context of the Comprehensive Plan, where we’ve been, where we are and where we want to go.”
Rollins added: “I’m excited about the council’s commitment to continue to update this every five years. I think that’s extremely important for this community.”
• In the public comments portion of the meeting, the Council heard from John Russell, a longtime resident of Ivy Circle that borders U.S. 158 who said he wanted to make sure that the Council involved the residents when considering taking down Leyland Cypress trees, dealing with stormwater and other matters as the town continues to grow.
“Bring in interested folks that are on Ivy Circle.” Russell said regarding discussing solutions. “The whole community has an interest in it.”
Cross said, “Actually that’s a conversation that Mr. Rollins and I have had about engagement with folks along Ivy Circle.”
In other highlights from last Tuesday night’s meeting, the council:
• Appointed Erin Hege Shea to fill a position as a regular member of the planning board. Shea, who was re-appointed as an alternate member of the board in June, fills the opening created by the resignation of Lynn Marcellino as a regular member of the board.
• Heard a presentation from Kelly Funderburk, Davie County Register of Deeds, on the duties of the department and the some of the new services that have been added in last two years. After her update, councilman Ken Peacock commented: “I never thought I would say this, but I’m going to, a presentation by the Register of Deeds was actually interesting and exciting. It’s an important job, and you are doing it very well.”
• Heard from Cross about the recent start to this summer’s concert series. “We had our first concert (EnVision) on Aug. 7,” he said. “It was some of the best music I’ve seen in a long time. It was shorter than I wanted it to be because it started raining, but the band was great.”
The next concert (Aug. 14) was rained out before Matt Dylan & Honky Tonk Outlaws took the stage on Aug. 21.
Special Occasion Band will finish up the shortened season (because of COVID) on Sept. 11 – where the 20th anniversary of 9/11 will be acknowledged and commemorated in a special way.