Road construction planned to begin this spring and continue for the next five years will drastically improve drive times when it’s complete, town officials hope.
Work already has begun work on building a bridge over Morrisville Parkway near Park West Village, so traffic no long will be held up by trains. That work will require a six-month road closure in 2016.
In early 2016, Morrisville also plans to complete the widening of Morrisville-Carpenter Road. The town, with help from developers, already widened the road between the Savannah neighborhood and Davis Drive from two lanes to four.
Now, officials are planning to do the same to the eastern stretch between Savannah and the intersection with N.C. 54, where Morrisville-Carpenter Road becomes Aviation Parkway.
The Morrisville Town Council already budgeted $620,000 for the project and will vote to budget another $174,000 at its next meeting, Nov. 24. That would bring the total cost of widening the half-mile stretch of road up to about $800,000.
Council member Vicki Scroggins-Johnson, the president of the Savannah neighborhood association, said her neighbors aren’t the only ones affected by the road’s rush-hour congestion.
“We have many different voices that we hear from about this sometimes-standing-still road,” she said.
In addition to adding two new lanes, the work would update stormwater runoff at Town Hall Drive to decrease flooding at that intersection. The town will install a median on Morrisville-Carpenter Road, meaning that drivers will no longer be able to make left turns onto or from Church and Page streets.
Morrisville-Carpenter Road is one of the town’s busiest east-west thoroughfares, and officials are eager to get the project rolling.
Even though Morrisville-Carpenter Road is the responsibility of the state, a lack of funding and time means the N.C. Department of Transportation won’t be able to widen it for some time.
Still, the DOT is charging Morrisville a $10,000 fee for paperwork needed to take over the project. That didn’t sit well with some local officials.
“It’s a state road they’re responsible for ... and yet we’re going to have to pay for their staff to do the work they should be doing?” said council member Liz Johnson said. “It just irks me.”
Future N.C. 54 Bypass
On Monday the town also held an open house for residents to learn more about a project that will start in the next year or two and will be under construction until 2020 or 2021.
The McCrimmon Parkway Extension, intended to serve as a bypass for N.C. 54, was funded after voters approved in in 2012 in a $14.3 million bond referendum. But the project quickly went over budget, and Morrisville convinced the state to join forces.
That set the project timeline back by several years but also saved local residents and businesses from an additional property tax increase.
The project will open up about 400 acres of mostly forested land for development, making this road one of the most significant pieces of economic development for the town in years.
It likely will be mostly commercial development because much of the land is within a no-residential zone due to its proximity to the airport and its accompanying noise.
One of the first developments could be the Western Wake Competition Center. The multi-sport complex received a $3 million grant from Wake County in 2014 and is ready to be built. The developer is waiting on the McCrimmon Parkway Extension to be built.
The road is expected to carry about 1,700 vehicles a day by 2040, according to preliminary estimates.
Doran: 919-460-2604; Twitter: @will_doran
For more on the McCrimmon Parkway Extension, go to bit.ly/1MKSnT7.