Residents seem to support a plan the town recently unveiled for widening the intersection of High House Road and Cary Parkway as a way to ease congestion.
“It’s much better than the last plan, that’s for sure,” said Gary Brown, who lives in the nearby Prestonwood subdivision.
The town plans to add two left-turn lanes at each of the four approaches to the intersection by reducing the medians and taking right-of-way from the curbs. The town also will add a lane to each approach to be used exclusively for right turns.
Work is tentatively scheduled to start next spring.
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A plan vetoed by the council in 2010 would have eliminated all left turns at the intersection, routing drivers onto an access road around the shopping centers. The previous plan prompted an outcry from residents.
Several people who attended a public meeting March 19 to discuss the new plan said the new designs are a much better fit for the area.
“I’m impressed that they didn’t have to move much of the decorative brick,” said Esther Lumsdon, who lives off Cary Parkway.
The town’s goal is to preserve the aesthetic character of the intersection as much as possible, said Jerry Jensen, the town’s transportation services manager.
In addition to the road improvements, the town will mount traffic signals on new decorative mast arm poles. The plan preserves the clock tower and brick pavilion that mark Preston Corners and calls for decorative pedestrian crossways.
“Overall, at the citizen workshop, we got pretty positive feedback,” Jensen said.
A report released in 2009 found that drivers sometimes have to wait for more than a minute to get through the intersection.
“It can be very long,” said Wilma Brown, Gary’s wife. “I’m glad to see it’s getting resolved.”
The Cary Town Council approved the strategy for improving the intersection in 2012 but town staff didn’t begin designing the plan until last summer, according to the town’s website.
The project will cost an estimated $3.9 million. A grant from the Federal Highway Administration will pay for $2.9 million of it.
The town plans to acquire the right-of-way it needs for the project by the end of the year, award the construction contract shortly thereafter and begin construction next spring.
However, the town may need to delay construction on the High House-Cary Parkway intersection if the N.C. Department of Transportation isn’t finished on a nearby project when Cary is ready to start.
N.C. DOT plans to shut down Morrisville Parkway between Crabtree Crossing Parkway and Quail Fields Court in early 2016 to build a railroad bridge over Morrisville Parkway.
As part of that project, which is expected to last six months, DOT will re-route drivers toward the High House-Cary Parkway intersection.
“We’re trying to coordinate with (DOT),” said Lori Cove, director of Cary’s transportation and facilities department.
The town has not changed its project schedule but is aware of potential conflicts, Cove said.
“We don’t want to have a lot of construction going on while they’re detouring through that area,” she said.