Progress toward building the much-anticipated N.C. 54 Bypass is inching along.
Affected landowners on Aviation Parkway, Airport Boulevard and International Drive have given their approval for the preliminary route of the future roadway, which will cross their property and open up about 400 acres for new development.
For Morrisville, the preliminary design is the culmination of months of working with six landowners, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The goal was to protect wetlands while conserving as much private property as possible.
Next, consulting firm Kimley-Horn and Associates will create detailed road designs, which are due by June 2015.
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Construction is set to start in early 2016 and wrap up by August 2017.
“The project is on track,” said Blake Mills, Morrisville’s public works director. “It’s going very well.”
Voters overwhelmingly approved a bond issue in 2012 to spend up to $14.3 million on street improvements.
Morrisville included about $4.2 million in the project’s budget for right-of-way acquisition.
Landowners along Aviation Parkway and Airport Boulevard have informally talked with town leaders about donating their right of way, which would save the town millions of dollars.
In return, developers will build two of the four lanes on the bypass and gain access to landlocked property.
“We’re looking forward to turning this into a good piece of tax base for Morrisville,” said Ed White, who owns about 30 acres along Airport Boulevard on one of the last undeveloped large tracts of property in town.
A deal hasn’t been finalized, Mills said. Right-of-way acquisition is scheduled to start in June 2015.
Once the 1.7-mile bypass is complete, it will help unclog traffic traffic jams on N.C. 54 during rush hour.
The bypass, which is often referred to as the McCrimmon Parkway Extension, will be a four-lane road from N.C. 54 to Aviation Parkway with medians, curbs and gutters.
The road will provide connections to Airport Boulevard and Perimeter Park Drive, giving motorists alternate routes to N.C. 54.
Once the McCrimmon Parkway Extension is open, drivers can avoid N.C. 54 completely by taking McCrimmon Parkway from Perimeter Park Drive to Aviation Parkway and continue on Evans Road to Cary Parkway.