Funding approved for Holly Springs road project

07/21/2014 5:02 PM

07/21/2014 5:03 PM

Relief is coming for drivers at Holly Springs’ busiest intersection.

The state recently awarded Holly Springs the final $500,000 the town needs for a $1.6 million plan to realign the intersection of Avent Ferry Road and the N.C. 55 Bypass.

Holly Springs plans to pay $600,000 toward the project, and the state Department of Transportation is pitching in $525,000.

Mayor Dick Sears credited Sen. Tamara Barringer, Rep. Skip Stam and Transportation Secretary Tony Tata for securing the state funding.

“I am thrilled to have been part of this,” Barringer wrote in an email. “I appreciate the leadership, hard work and cooperation of all who helped to meet this critical need in Southern Wake County.”

Realigning the intersection has been a top priority for the town because traffic jams frequently occur at rush hour. The road has also endured more stress as residential developments have popped up on the south side of town.

About 21,000 vehicles use Avent Ferry Road each day, though the road was designed to handle only 14,000 per day.

Holly Springs town staff has drafted a plan that would reduce the number of drivers stuck at stop lights by prohibiting vehicles on Avent Ferry from driving straight across the bypass.

The intersection would be realigned so that drivers on Avent Ferry must turn right onto the bypass, make a U-turn at a cut-through and then turn right to get to the other side of the intersection.

Engineers also hope to add an extra right-turn lane on southbound N.C. 55 to lessen traffic back-ups that typically occur in the evenings as many drivers turn right onto Avent Ferry Road.

It’s unclear when construction on the project could begin.

Rex Hospital, which is building an express care center on the northeast corner of the intersection, is paying for a traffic study that might affect how engineers realign the road.

“I don’t expect any major changes,” said Stephanie Sudano, engineering director for the town.

Officials for Holly Springs and the DOT also need to determine who will take charge of hiring a contractor and overseeing construction, Sudano said.

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