With state Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson and state Rep. Gale Adcock among those grabbing ceremonial shovels, Morrisville broke ground Friday morning on what the town’s public works director billed as “the biggest project the town has ever done” – the McCrimmon Parkway extension.
The first, which will connect two existing sections of McCrimmon Parkway from N.C. 54 to Perimeter Park Drive, will be complete by early 2018 at a cost of about $5.2 million. N.C. 54 will be widened at its intersection with McCrimmon Parkway, and two additional lanes of travel will be built where McCrimmon Parkway crosses the railroad near that intersection.
The 1.4-mile second phase, managed and partially funded by the state Department of Transportation, will connect Airport Boulevard to Aviation Parkway at Evans Road. It will provide access to acres of yet-to-be-developed land while allowing drivers to bypass a frequently congested section of N.C. 54, known in town as Chapel Hill Road. That section, which will be the main point of access to the planned Western Wake Competition Center, should be open by 2019.
Friday morning, Tennyson and Morrisville Public Works Director Blake Mills praised each other for successful collaboration between state and town. The extension’s scope was expanded in 2015 when the state DOT announced it would step in during the second phase and make what had been planned as a standard two-lane road a four-lane road divided by a median.
“I had the experience of driving here this morning, so I’m keenly aware of the fact that traffic in the rush hour period is hampered by some of the great success that Morrisville and some of the surrounding communities have enjoyed,” Tennyson said. “I want to salute the leadership and the voters of Morrisville for understanding that there is a local investment component to this.”
Friday’s groundbreaking also was the first major town event to feature Morrisville’s new branding and logo, which adorned everything from the explanatory construction sign – “Your bond dollars at work” – to small foam cars being given away to attendees.
The bonds themselves were sold in September at notably low interest rates.
“It's been fast, too,” Mayor Mark Stohlman said Friday. “To be breaking ground just four years after the bonds were approved, that’s laser speed for something like this.”
Gargan: 919-460-2604; @hgargan