While the state’s next long-range transportation proposal includes several Clayton projects, it makes no mention of the small network of roads serving the fastest-growing part of town.
Developers continue to target land on the north side of Clayton near Covered Bridge, City and Shotwell roads. Most notably, Wakefield Development Co. wants to build Steeplechase, a 2,500-home subdivision on 631 acres known locally as the Earp tract.
Clayton Town Councilman Michael Grannis said if Steeplechase and other planned subdivisions come to pass, traffic could be a problem.
“I don’t know what we can do to encourage the DOT to take a good, hard look at those roads I mentioned, but I think we need to seriously consider what our options are,” Grannis said during a recent Town Council meeting.
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Neighbors who live near Steeplechase have voiced the same concern.
Residents of Ole Mill Stream subdivision, just north of the Earp tract, would share an entrance and access road with Steeplechase. Kerri-Lynn Netko, president of the Ole Mill Stream homeowners’ association, said none of her neighbors are satisfied with Wakefield Development’s proposal.
“As a result of this plan, we have received many responses where concerns involve the level of traffic this would pose inside the neighborhood and surrounding main roads and additional commute time,” Netko said in an email.
Netko and her husband, Adam, created an online portal where their neighbors can comment on Wakefield’s plan. They plan to bring questions and concerns before the town’s Planning Board when it takes up Steeplechase on Jan. 26. The board will make a recommendation to the Clayton Town Council, which has the final say on the neighborhood.
Wakefield Development’s plan is to build single-family homes, town homes and apartments over several phases on the 631-acre tract between Covered Bridge and City roads. The plan includes about 70 acres for open-space areas like “pocket parks,” multi-use trails and landscape buffers, in addition to a clubhouse and a commercial center.
Engineers who prepared a traffic study for Wakefield Development say the project will require turn lanes, traffic signals and realignments at four intersections. Town staff and the N.C. Department of Transportation are reviewing the study, conducted by the Winston-Salem-based firm Davenport, and will come up with a schedule for needed improvements.
The traffic study recommended more than a dozen fixes by the time the neighborhood is complete. They include:
• Turn lanes and a road realignment at Covered Bridge Road and O’Neil Street, which the engineers say would operate at a “deficient level of service regardless of the proposed development.”
• A traffic signal and turn lanes at Covered Bridge Road and Shotwell Road, which many drivers use to get to U.S. 70 Business.
• A traffic signal and turn lanes at Covered Bridge Road and Brookhill Drive, one of the proposed access points into the neighborhood.
• Turn lanes at the intersection of Covered Bridge Road and a proposed future entrance.