One of Cary’s busiest intersections may soon get a facelift.
The Cary Town Council on Thursday is expected to consider a $1.1 million plan to widen the intersection of Kildaire Farm Road and Cary Parkway to improve traffic flow in the area.
That stretch of Kildaire Farm Road is currently five lanes, one of which is a left-turn lane. Cary Parkway has the same alignment but has a median.
The plan calls for a right-turn lane on southbound Kildaire Farm Road, dual left-turn lanes on each side of Cary Parkway and new right-turn lanes on the parkway.
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The town would also add crosswalk striping to the intersection.
Separately, it would restrict drivers from turning left into or out of the Trader Joe’s parking lot from High Meadow Drive, which runs behind the shopping center.
“We wanted to ensure that we were proposing a safe plan that would accommodate all users – not just motorists – and preserve the aesthetic integrity of the intersection,” said Kristen Dwiggins, the project engineer.
Six months ago, council members delayed a vote on a similar plan that some said would damage the appearance of the intersection for little gain.
The previous proposal called for the town to reduce the median on Cary Parkway and strip it of vegetation to accommodate turn lanes.
That proposal didn’t include a westbound right-turn lane on Cary Parkway and wouldn’t have improved the intersection so that it functioned at efficiency standards set by the N.C. Department of Transportation.
The plan going before the council on Thursday calls for removing fewer trees and keeping vegetation in the median. It would also help the intersection function at an acceptable standard, Dwiggins said.
The previous proposal would have decreased evening delays from an average of 130 seconds to an average of 73 seconds by the year 2020.
Town staff estimates the new plan will reduce evening delays at the intersection to about 68 seconds.
It’s unclear whether the plan will garner more support from council members than the previous proposal, which they seemed divided on.
Councilman Don Frantz, a critic of the original proposal, said he’s undecided on the new plan.
“It comes down to whether we want to impact aesthetics in order to move cars,” he said.
Councilman Jack Smith, who is also undecided, said he likes the idea of restricting left turns into the Trader Joe’s parking lot from High Meadow Drive.
“That would help a lot,” he said.
If the council approves the plan, the town would likely begin construction in early 2016 and finish by 2017, Dwiggins said.