DOT says no to roundabout at US 158/NC 801
Published 12:08 am Thursday, January 26, 2023
By Jim Buice
BERMUDA RUN – How about some fun facts regarding traffic, infrastructure and growth in this eastern Davie town?
As preparation for a presentation from Pat Ivey, Division 9 engineer, in this month’s town council meeting, council member Mike Brannon put together what he called “fun facts” to illustrate some key points.
“No. 1, Davie County is 267 square miles, and Bermuda Run is 2.56 square miles,” Brannon said. “Quick math is Bermuda Run is 1 percent of Davie in land mass.
“No. 2, there are four major corridors that pass through Davie County – I-40, US 158, US 64 and NC 801. Of those four corridors, three of them pass through the 1 percent (with US 64 being the exception). I just want people to understand a lot of what impacts the intersection of that is NC 801 and US 158 go well beyond the borders of this town.
“And No. 3, the Davie County Comprehensive Plan spells out a vision for this county in defining US 158 and NC 801 as the primary development growth corridors. Bring those three pieces together, and it’s not hard to understand how we’ll continue to have challenges with that intersection because this town is going to grow, and this county is going to grow.”
Certainly, Ivey’s NCDOT transportation update covered a lot of ground, but the busy intersection was one of the headliners as he reviewed the latest short-term and long-term solutions.
“We’ve worked with the town to help with safety and reduce congestion on northbound NC 801 with the help of Rep. (Julia) Howard and safety folks and cobbling up enough money ($510,000) to install a dedicated right-turn lane beside Walgreens that will allow us to have two through lanes going through that intersection to match up with what’s on the other side that we built several years ago,” Ivey said.
“We’re on schedule to build this project this summer, and this will go a long way to reduce crashes there that are not severe, but there are a lot of sideswipes out there. This should all but eliminate that and also reduce that northbound congestion.”
As for long-term solutions for the intersection, Ivey first brought up placing a roundabout, which has worked out well on US 158 at the town’s entrance at the Yadkin River.
“This is a very different location, and DOT quite frankly is not very comfortable with a dual-lane roundabout that we’d have to have at the location, and it could be confusing to motorists,” said Ivey, who added this option would result in the elimination of the new right-turn lane being added and the impact to local businesses such as CVS Pharmacy and Wells Fargo Bank.
The other option, a more traditional intersection design, would allow for dual lefts from US 158 onto NC 801 heading north and dual through lanes on NC 801 north, Ivey said. He added other positives in this scenario would be keeping the new right-turn lane, having much fewer impacts to adjacent commercial properties and accommodating better pedestrian movement.
Ivey said that the estimated price tag of $6 million is not an expensive project and compared to doing the last segment of the Northern Beltway in Forsyth County, which cost $260 million, “$6 million is a drop in the bucket.”
Also in his update, Ivey discussed the Baltimore Road extension from US 158 to I-40, and the selection of Alternative 3 in what he described as “the least environmentally damaging practical alternative” after a public input session in November.
“It will help with mobility in the Davie County area,” Ivey said, “and we also believe this will help ease the congestion in Bermuda Run at the NC 801/US 158 intersection.”
He said that right-of-way acquisition for the road segment of just over a mile will begin later this year with construction starting late in 2025. The current cost is about $30 million.
Other upcoming projects include a new roundabout on US.158 at Farmington Road with a let date of late 2024 and cost estimate of $2 million, and another roundabout on Farmington Road on the north side of the I-40 interchange to be built this summer.
Earlier in the meeting, Ivey had his own “fun facts” when discussing noise barriers along highways, stating the cost for one seven-mile section of the beltway project was over $20 million. He added that the average cost of a noise wall is $52 per square foot or roughly $3.2 million per mile.
In other highlights from last Tuesday night’s meeting, the council:
• Heard presentations from Lane Newsome, general manager of RISE Indoor Sports, and Scott Wollaston of NC Fusion. Newsome said that RISE has had over a million visitors since opening in May 2021, and Wollaston said that the organization has 7,500 members in all programs with a staff of 45 full time 200 part time and “a million” volunteer coaches.
• Also heard from Newsome during his remarks on RISE that Combat Athletics, which offers sports specific training, wrestling and martial arts, plans to close its operations in Mocksville and move into RISE as of March 1.
• Heard from Town Manager Andrew Meadwell regarding the Planning Board completing its work on updating the 2022 Comprehensive Plan, which is an update to 2017 Comprehensive Plan. Meadwell said that a variety of issues have been addressed and that the plan is to distribute the document for the council to review and then discuss at the next agenda meeting with hopes of having a public presentation in the Feb. 14 council meeting.
• Also heard from Meadwell in his report about the impact of the weather and the recent holidays regarding work on projects such as the Blue Heron Trail and the Juniper Pump Station (although much of that work is underground). In addition, he added that leaf pickup has been extended throughout the town through the end of January but that leaves need to be put out by Jan. 23.
• Adopted a resolution in support for 2023 “Year of the Trail” in support of a state initiative in support of public trails and greenways constructed and managed by government agencies and nonprofit partners.