The Town Board here has approved a funding agreement with the N.C. Department of Transportation for another phase of roadway improvements along North Arendell Avenue.
Pending approval by the N.C. DOT at several planning stages, Zebulon Public Works Director Chris Ray said construction could begin by late summer 2017 and take about nine months to complete.
“One of the big keys is the turnaround time we have from N.C. DOT,” Ray said. “I think we’re talking about being done with this in the spring of 2018.”
The project calls for adding an extra south-bound traffic lane on North Arendell Avenue from about 400 feet north of Pearces Road to join where a second lane currently starts just south of Hendricks Drive – effectively making North Arendell a four-lane road from its intersection with Pearces Road to the south.
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There will be a second left turn lane from Pearces Road onto North Arendell Avenue, a stoplight at Hendricks Road and an access road running from Hendricks behind Eddins Oil Co. to the parking lot behind Zebulon Animal Hospital.
The road will also be divided by a median from Dogwood Drive to where the four-lane will begin near Sheetz, with a break between Hendricks Drive and Pearces Road for the intersections. There will also be new sidewalks spanning the entire stretch on the west side of North Arendell Avenue, wrapping around the Sheetz corner and also connecting the existing sidewalk on the east side of North Arendell to Waffle House.
Zebulon, in October, 2015, appropriated $215,000 for design work for the project, and in April entered into a contract with Volkert engineering firm for design and surveying. The surveying is complete and preliminary design plans are due by the end of the month.
The construction work is estimated to cost $1,195,000, of which Zebulon’s share in an 80-20 federal funding match is $239,000. The agreement town leaders approved Monday, Aug. 1, specified that the town will pay for the work and be reimbursed by the N.C. DOT periodically throughout the job.
The fine details of the work, however, are not set in stone. The preliminary design includes only about 25 percent of the plans for the project.
The town plans to hold an open house Thursday, Sept. 15, from 6-7:30 p.m. in the lobby at Town Hall to get the public’s input on the project.
“Public input is a big piece of it, but we’ll also be submitting those plans to N.C. DOT to get their input, so we can incorporate all that input throughout the design process,” Ray said.
At least two more public meetings are expected be held before construction begins. The town also plans to advertise those opportunities to local businesses and to residents, through inserts in their upcoming water bills.
The town plans to tackle another project at the same time and in the same area as the North Arendell Avenue access project. That job, costing $62,000, will fill in the gaps that currently exist on Jones Street. Previous developers have constructed portions of Jones Street along the backside of their property, but not every lot along that street has been developed, which means the road starts and stops.
Ultimately, development requirements are expected to extend Jones Street to Dogwood Drive, making the road behind the row of restaurants and banks more accessible.