Construction could begin in about a year on $2.3 million in bike, pedestrian and roadway improvements along North Estes Drive, from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Caswell Road.
The federal government is expected to pick up 80 percent of the cost, which includes design and construction work, or roughly $1.9 million, said David Bonk, the town’s long range and transportation manager. The town would pay about $468,000.
The plan approved by the Town Council on Monday adds a raised, 6-foot-wide bike lane and 5-foot-wide sidewalk to the south side of Estes Drive. A landscaped strip on the north side would separate Estes Drive traffic from a 5-foot-wide bike lane and 10-foot-wide multiuse path.
The changes address public priorities included in the Chapel Hill Bike Plan and the 2013 Central West small-area plan, town staff said.
Dedicated right turn lanes would be built on all four sides of the Estes-MLK intersection and an extra left turn lane would be added for drivers turning south from Estes Drive to MLK Boulevard. That lane and an existing left turn lane would be extended to 200 feet, Bonk said.
The town’s bike plan includes future changes to the remainder of North Estes Drive, from Caswell Road to East Franklin Street, he said.
While the plan calls for a 4- to 6-foot uphill climbing lane on the north side of Estes Drive and a shared bike/car lane on the south, the road isn’t wide enough, Bonk said. The staff is looking at options for an off-road bikeway, he said, particularly for the south side.
The bike plan also includes future bike lanes on North Elliott Road, he said.