Carrboro, DOT haggle over road

CORRESPONDENTJune 4, 2009 

— The Carrboro Board of Aldermen rejected all three of the N.C. Department of Transportation's proposed renovations to Smith Level Road at its meeting Tuesday night.

DOT recommends no fewer than three traffic lanes, ideally four, for a section of the current two-lane road that runs to Carrboro High School. But the aldermen said they don't want Smith Level Road to become a major highway such as N.C. 54 or U.S. 15-501. Instead, they want only sidewalks and bike paths added.

DOT offered a compromise: Add a middle turning lane and bike paths and sidewalks, but only if Carrboro assumed maintenance of the road. Mayor Mark Chilton said that would set a bad precedent.

"It redefines our relationship with the state government," he said, noting that Carrboro might be asked to make similar concessions on roads, like Hillsborough Street, considered for development in the future.

The Board of Aldermen asked DOT to pursue sidewalks and bike lanes through the Transportation Improvement Program rather than resubmit the project to the Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation as DOT proposed. Resubmission would further delay the project.

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