As people and projects increase in the Towns of Cary and Morrisville, local officials are concerned about keeping up with much-needed road improvements to handle added traffic, particularly on roads like N.C. 54 and Morrisville-Carpenter Road, which bear the load from both municipalities.
These roads were addressed Wednesday, May 11, among several topics at a quarterly joint meeting between both town councils and staff members.
Morrisville councilwoman Liz Johnson shared concerns about added traffic on Morrisville-Carpenter Road if nearby residential projects are approved later this year.
A developer is seeking to rezone 18.39 acres on the north side of Morrisville-Carpenter Road, east of the Savannah subdivision to allow between 70 to 140 units. The Morrisville Town Council will consider this rezoning case in June.
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Johnson also brought up two proposed developments along the same road within Cary’s jurisdiction that would add more than 350 homes, townhomes and apartments. Neither have been approved by the Cary Town Council.
About 150 homes and 150 townhomes are proposed for an 80-acre property at 1132 Morrisville Carpenter Road between Louis Stephens and Davis drives.
A second project at the southeast corner of Gathering Park Circle and Morrisville Carpenter Road could allow for up to 27 townhomes and 48 attached residential dwelling units, as well as commercial and office space if approved by Cary.
“Maybe this is where we need to really partner. How are we going to deal with this traffic?” Johnson said. “Those folks, wherever they live, whether they live in Morrisville, whether they live in Cary, they are all coming down Morrisville-Carpenter Road to try to get to (I-40) or the airport.”
Both councils suggested that town staff should present an update on all east-to-west road connectors like Morrisville-Carpenter and O’Kelly Chapel roads at the next joint meeting.
“I think we’ve concentrated a long time on northwest connections but east-west connections are sorely, sorely, sorely needed,” Johnson said.
N.C. 54 improvements
Town staff are still waiting for the results of a N.C. Department of Transportation study on the N.C. 54 corridor from Maynard Road to I-540, said Benjamin Howell, Morrisville’s transportation planner.
Funding to widen the highway from Perimeter Park Drive to I-540 in Morrisville already has been approved, Howell said. But funding has yet to be approved to widen the portion from Maynard Road to Cary Parkway.
The highway between the Wake-Durham county line and downtown Cary is narrow – either two or four lanes for most of the seven-mile stretch. Sections of it could become six lanes wide in the future.
“It seems so wide,” Cary councilwoman Jennifer Robinson said in response to the plan for the highway.
Down the road, some work already is taking place on N.C. 54 in front of Weston Corners, a new mixed-use development at the intersection of Weston Parkway and N.C. 54.
The 21-acre development will have 302 apartments, 35 townhomes and 32,200 square feet of retail. The developer is required to widen the highway from Weston Parkway to the project’s boundary to the north.
Jerry Jensen, Cary’s transportation manager, said the contractor anticipates completing work on N.C. 54 in July. This development is expected to add 170 to 200 additional vehicles on the road during morning and evening rush hours.
“They’ve had a lot of challenges on this project with utilities,” Jensen said. “There was a gas line relocation, a water line relocation and there was an issue with storm drainage. I think they are on the path now to getting that completed.”
Kathryn Trogdon: 919-460-2608; @KTrogdon